What's the difference between an MD and a DO?

When you see a family medicine physician at Prevea, you may notice that they have either an "MD" or a "DO" listed after their name. These initials refer to the doctor's credentials – they indicate the type of medical school the doctor attended and the licensing exam they took to become a doctor.
  • MD stands for "Medical Doctor," and is the most common type of degree earned by doctors who practice medicine in the United States.
  • DO stands for "Doctor of Osteopathy," and refers to a doctor who practices medicine whose medical school training included a focus on the muscular and skeletal systems to treat problems throughout the body.
Both MD's and DO's attend medical school and take exams to become licensed, practicing physicians. In general, DO's tend to focus on the whole body when treating medical problems, and focus on your muscles and bones to confirm a diagnosis they make.
 
Either type of doctor can go on to specialize in a certain area of medicine, but DO's tend to choose areas such as general internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine that allow them to focus on holistic wellness. Both MD's and DO's can prescribe medications and treat diseases with equal competency.
 
Visit Find a Prevea Provider to read biographical information on each of our providers, including all those who became Medical Doctors, and also our Doctors of Osteopathy.