Understanding the Differences Between Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)



January 11, 2020

Even if you’ve been going to see a doctor for a while, it’s easy to get tripped up on medical terminology. Most patients aren’t able to tell the difference between an MD and a DO, but these two medical personnel can provide different services to patients. 

H2: What’s an MD?

MD stands for Doctor of Medicine, which is the degree earned by allopathic physicians. Allopathic medicine is the dominant form of medicine in the United States and many other parts of the world. MDs are trained in traditional medical schools that focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disease through the use of drugs, surgery, and other conventional medical interventions.

H2: What’s a DO?

DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, which is the degree earned by osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic medicine is a form of complementary and alternative medicine that emphasizes a holistic approach to patient care. DOs are trained in osteopathic medical schools, where they learn to use manual techniques to diagnose and treat illness, in addition to conventional medical interventions.

H2: Some key differences between MDs and DOs include:

Their philosophy around patient care

DOs are trained to take a holistic approach to patient care, considering the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health. MDs tend to focus more on the diagnosis and treatment of disease using conventional medical interventions.

The training they receive 

DOs receive additional training in osteopathic manipulative medicine, a technique that uses manual pressure and stretching to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal problems. MDs do not receive this type of training.

Where they go for residency

Both MDs and DOs complete residency programs after medical school, but DOs are more likely to choose primary care specialties such as family medicine, while MDs are more likely to choose specialties such as surgery and internal medicine.


MDs and DOs are both licensed to practice medicine in the United States and other countries, and their licenses are equivalent in terms of scope of practice and legal requirements.

Ultimately, both MDs and DOs are licensed physicians who are trained to diagnose and treat illness. The choice between the two types of physicians may depend on personal preferences, the availability of practitioners in your area, and the type of medical care that best meets your needs. At UPLIN, we offer licensed medical professionals who want to treat their patients with longevity and overall health in mind. We provide our customers with exceptional healthcare via a remarkably convenient platform for patients who want a connection with their doctors. When they call, they get a professional who answers the phone and then immediately goes to work finding the assistance they need. In fact, it takes about two minutes to book a visit from one of our top-of-the-class physicians. To learn more, give us a call at 844-698-7546.

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