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Blueprint MCAT (formerly Next Step Test Prep). And how much does the difference matter for a premed deciding where to apply to medical school? One-quarter of medical students currently in training in the US now are DO students. , There are notable differences in the specialty choices of DOs and MDs. Historically, DOs have been more recognized and more familiar in certain parts of the country where DO schools are located.  IMG physicians are more likely to enter primary care specialties than US MD physicians. DO vs Caribbean Medical School: What Should I Do? All things being equal, MD and DO salaries are comparable. DOWNLOAD FREE - Crush the MCAT with our MCAT Secrets eBook, © Medical School Headquarters - All Rights Reserved. Osteopathic medical schools have historically been considered less competitive than allopathic medical schools. American Osteopathic Association: What is a DO? The difference between MD and DO philosophies may not be so substantial in practice. , The study of approximately 341 million healthcare visits founds that there was no difference on the rate that doctors provided to patients diet or nutrition counseling, weight reduction counseling, exercise counseling, tobacco use or exposure counseling, and mental health or stress reduction counseling. describe subjective distinctions in patient interactions, but Avery Hurt writes, "In actual practice, the variations between the two types of physicians are often so slight as to be unnoticeable to patients, and a day in the life of each can appear indistinguishable. MDs generally focus on treating specific conditions with medication. Back in episode 26 of The Premed Years podcast, I interviewed two DO medical students, Patrick Wu and Jonathan Siu, about the “6 Myths of Osteopathic Medical School.” Patrick and Jonathan are the authors of A Brief Guide to Osteopathic Medicine – For Students, By Students, which is a great free primer on osteopathic medicine.  Geographic location was the top reason given by both DO and MD students for choosing the school in which they enrolled.  Throughout the 1900s, DOs gained practice rights and government recognition. If a DO wanted to become an MD for a specific reason, they could. If you really want to be a physician, focus on that goal, not getting into a specific medical school. The DO degree is obtained at domestic schools only. The MD degree has been recognized everywhere, whereas the DO degree has been limited.  Between 1980 and 2005, the annual number of new MDs remained stable at around 16,000.  MD students take United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)'s series of three licensing exams during and after medical school. This is largely due to the gap in the average stats of matriculants. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Although the MD degree may correlate to higher salaries, MDs are not getting paid more than DOs because of the degree they hold.” quote=”Although the MD degree may correlate to higher salaries, MDs are not getting paid more than DOs because of the degree they hold.”]. Applicants were less likely to be accepted at DO schools! Accredited DO and MD medical schools are both included in the World Health Organization’s World Directory of Medical Schools. That said, DOs also have their own osteopathic residency programs they can apply to. DOs, therefore, make up less than 10% of practicing physicians in the US today. I’ve made the argument in another post—“Should We Even Have a DO Degree?”—that DOs should distinguish themselves more from MDs.  Only in the last several years could a DO charge for both an office visit (Evaluation & Management services) and use a procedure (CPT) code when performing OMT; previously, it was bundled. If you review the residency Match data for orthopedic surgery, osteopathic applicants have a harder time matching to allopathic residency programs. If academics are your weak point, DO schools may be more open to you, too. Your experience of med school and residency will be pretty similar whether you become an osteopathic or allopathic physician.  One area which has been implicated, but not been formally studied regarding the decline in OMT usage among DOs in practice, is the role of reimbursement changes. So while I do still lean toward osteopathic thinking today, I chose to have the numbers on my side and apply to allopathic medical schools. Some people have concerns about matching into the most competitive specialties as a DO, but competitive applicants still do.
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