MD vs DO: What’s the difference & which is better?


(hip-hop beat) – The majority of licensed
medical physicians practicing medicine in
the US today are MDs, also known as “medical doctors.” However, there is also
an increasing number of practicing physicians known as DOs, which means “doctors of
osteopathic medicine.” Both are equally licensed
to practice medicine in all 50 states. I wanna make one point
very clear before we start: one degree is not better than the other. In fact, they have so many similarities it would probably take
an hour to cover them. This video is gonna focus
only on the differences between an MD and a DO The most evident
difference between the two is that DOs practice
something called O.M.T., which is “osteopathic
manipulative therapy.” Instead of just telling you,
I’d much rather show you. Come on. Osteopathic manipulation is
a hands-on therapeutic tool whereby manipulating
the body’s own tissues can restore and maintain optimal function. And it’s a low-risk, conservative measure that can be used in place
of medication and surgery. And it treats all types of ailments, everything from low back pain, to something more complex
like congestive heart failure. Take a deep breath in. Deep breath out. (neck popping) (patient laughing) How’s that feel? – Really good! – In osteopathic medical
school, there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the holistic medical approach. Now what does that mean? It means an extra focus on the body’s own ability to heal itself, a focus on prevention, and
a focus on the whole patient instead of just the disease process. Just because there’s a heavier emphasis placed on this holistic
model in osteopathic school, it doesn’t mean that MDs don’t practice with this model as well. There are plenty of MDs who treat with the whole patient philosophy in mind. Those first two differences
were just differences in medical school training. Now let’s move on to
residency, which is arguably the most important part
of medical training. In order for a residency program to be considered legitimate, it needs to be authorized
by an accreditation council, and currently there are
two accreditation councils: one for MDs and one for DOs. DOs can train under either
accreditation council, however MDs can only
train under the MD banner. Come 2020, those two
accreditation councils will merge, and allow residents to train
under a unified council, further strengthening my
point that there’re becoming less and less differences
between the two degrees. Now, how about practicing internationally? Well, here, MDs have a distinct advantage, as they’re able to practice medicine in more countries than DOs. Currently about 50 countries
allow full medical licensing for US-trained DOs, with
more countries allowing restricted practicing as well. This restriction stems from the confusion created by European-trained osteopaths, who aren’t medical doctors,
but are only trained in manipulation of the
musculoskeletal system. However, the AOA has
been making great strides in educating foreign governments about US-trained osteopathic doctors. Now what about the applicants? To get into an MD or DO program
is extremely competitive, with the number of applicants
and score requirements rising each year. It’s important to know
that DO schools do accept the non-traditional
medical school applicant: those who are going into medicine as their second career,
or perhaps later in life, or don’t have a scientific background. Also the GPA/MCAT combo
required for admission is slightly lower for DO schools, but that gap is closing each year. Interestingly, because
there are less DO schools, despite the lower requirements, it’s still more competitive
to get into a DO school. A couple more differences. There’s a 9:1 ratio of
MDs to DOs out there, with about 100,000 DOs in active practice. And two, a higher percentage of DOs go into primary care specialties like family medicine,
OBGYN, or pediatrics. Me personally, I chose the DO route, because I’m a fan of treating
the patient as a whole and the prevention aspect. Plus, it never hurts to have
a hands-on tool like OMT. Bottom line is, when
you’re picking your doctor, you should focus less on their degree, and more on their communication skills, knowledge, bedside manner, and experience. (jazzy hip-hop beat)

100 thoughts on “MD vs DO: What’s the difference & which is better?”

  1. My cousin just started DO med school at Oklahoma State this year. He's the 3rd generation of DO's in his family.

  2. Are we all in love with Mike or….is it just me? Also, the bachelor should seriously consider making him the next bachelor. Oh my Lordy.

  3. Ok so basically a D.O. is another name for chiropractor. And let me guess this guy is a D.O. No u went the D.O. way because ur too cheesy to be a real doctor. Too much of a salesman.

  4. Every chiropractor oh excuse me D.O. seems to be a salesman/conartist why? Is a requirement of a D.O. to be a good salesman? Why dont other medical professionals have to become infomercial celebrities in order to practice medicine? Only chiropractors thats why no one thinks they r real doctors. Oh my bad D.O.'s not chiropractors do's do's.

  5. This is a sales video. A GPA of 3.7 is much lower than a 4.0. Getting a 4.0 is asymptotically more difficult . And having an undergraduate degree in Spanish doesn't help a DO with the deep biological background that an MD has. (Yes, you get get into a DO program with a BA in spanish.). I could go on.

    DO's are smart guys and don't have the "House attitude" but definitely not of the same caliber as an MD. For example, at the clinic I go to they like to place the blood pressure cuff higher than your heart – for comfort. They even have a special rest for your arm. This is a bad practice because it gives you a lower blood pressure measurement than having the cuff at the same level as your heart. And worse, short people will measure lower BP than tall ppl. This isn't just a bad practice its dangerous. I have pointed this out twice & they still do it.

    DO's are great for doing a quick triage since most medical problems aren't that complicated. And DO's seem more ppl friendly than MD's. But if I'm going to pay the same for a DO as an MD, I'll take the MD.

  6. Can you do a video comparing MD/DO/DPM. I read on this website by UC Davis that there are 3 medical schools in the US: MD/DO/DPM.
    https://hpa.ucdavis.edu/medicine

  7. We should really just drop the distinction between MD and DO altogether. They are almost indistinguishable at this point.

  8. Oh my gosh… I have always preferred having a D.O., so I'm not hating, Dr. Mike… But holy moly do I wish you'd given a warning before showing that neck manipulation. Gotta barf now. @[email protected]

  9. 1:07… I have searched PubMed and can't see any evidence to support the use of OMT to treat congestive heart failure patients. Please provide, much appreciated.

  10. Eww all that studying 😐 i cant imagine going back to school let alone i can't afford it.

  11. Dear Dr. Mike,
    Thank you for making this video. I'm a non-traditional student considering the choice to become a DO over becoming and MD. I haven't heard a lot of good comparisons, but this helps me feel validated in considering DO. I'd be interested in finding out more about what it's like to be a DO!

  12. Wow, I've never head of a DO before. I'm Australian, all our doctors are what you described as MD. Here, an osteopath is more like a philosophically-different chiropractor. Maybe we should get DO's as well, sounds like we'd benefit from them.

  13. I have an OMT appointment for Tuesday and I am nervous. I have never been adjusted before and I recently found out I may have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Any advice for things I should tell or ask my DO or things I should know before going to get an adjustment knowing I may have a connective tissue disorder? <3

  14. Thanks for taking the time to make this video, Dr. Mike! I was recently accepted and will be attending V.C.O.M. in the fall of 2019. I am so excited to start my career as a physician! I am always hearing different stigmas of D.O.'s and M.D.'s but in my opinion, like yours, the difference is becoming so small between the two that it really makes no difference. We are all learning to treat the patient behind the disease and that is what counts at the end of the day rather than the letters behind the name. As some of my mentors have said, "treat the patient, not the monitor".

  15. I frankly never care about a doctors qualification. I've just found in my experience, Nurse practitioners are always listening better.

  16. What about low gpa? I hear you have a higher chance of getting into D.O with low gpa compared to m.d. or was that a myth

  17. I have a question, when I was younger, probably about 6 or 7 at the time, my tummy was hurting ALOT like it felt like if there about to be some massive explosion and I would poop myself or even throw up and they diagnosed me with gastroenteritis. So they gave me this pill to swallow at the time when my stomach was just grueling in pain and (i can't remember what the pill is called) the nurse heard me crying and just told me to Shut Up and stop making so much noise. Is that normal?

  18. Can D.O. ‘s really do chiropractor work? I have a D.O. as my primary care Dr, and she always has referred me to a chiropractor if needed. Never tried to do any manipulation of muscle or joints.

  19. I’m a U.S. Biology Major and French Language Minor. I may be insane, but I really want to study medicine in Canada, and I can’t find any information about how to do that. Someone please help me.

  20. To say that OMT can treat "congestive heart failure" is wildly misleading. OMT is recognized as a psudo-science and alternative medicine in all systemic illnesses, it lack proper documentation for even muscle-skeletal system problems. Benefits from OMT is limited to placebo, and to say something else before conclusive research is given, should be considered malpractice if you work as a medical professonal.

  21. I can tell by watching your videos that you would actually be a good husband for several reasons.
    1) you don’t act selfish
    2) you seem to be very reasonable and consider several points of view
    3) you are respectful of other people’s opinion even when you disagree
    4) you are very Knowledgeable

  22. Here in East Africa a basic medical degree is MBChB similar to MD. And we refer to them as M.Os (Medical Officers)
    We also have diploma graduates who practice medicine and are called COs (Clinical Officers)

  23. Thanks for reaching me the difference between DO and MD. Can I teach you the difference between "less" and "fewer"? 😉

  24. Hi Doc! I've been binging your videos a lot lately, and made myself think again about medschool, unfortunately I don't think there's a DO program here in our country, I graduated BS MedTech/Clinical Lab Scie, and got license last 2017, I was just 20 that time. and I was supposed to just take a year off to work/gain some hospital insight, insteaf I got a life insight on how hard the way will be of MD, first off the financial status, then my own brain capacity, the only thing i've got is patience and grit, but there's no student loan here in our country and I can't ask my parents to support me (they are very willing to put me in MedSchool) i just dont want them to go through again financial crisis with me and my 2 other sibs going to school, they are retired and I want them to enjoy life now, they deserve it. Now that i've heard the DO program in US, i've been thinking what if I apply to go to US, to work, then after a year or so, try to apply to DO program and be a doctor. Please tell me its possible and go for it.

  25. Dr. Mike, if I’m in the hospital as a patient, let’s say for this example in the ICU. Am I able to request that a DO be on my treatment team. I was in the ICU recently at a major teaching hospital and had several MD’s on my treatment team. Would it have been fair and/or reasonable to have asked to be seen by a DO as well?

  26. “More competitive to get into DO school”

    Come on man, you know that’s misleading. No one ever picks DO over MD. At the end of the day, students who underperform in undergrad choose DO.

    MD is not > DO and vice versa, though.

  27. Dr. Mike I really enjoy your videos. Could you do a video regarding MD vs DO vs PA.? I’m currently a practicing PA

  28. Theyre the same shit these days lol. DO's even have an extra tool in set in OMT that MD's do not receive training in.

  29. I wonder if you would be able to do something about my back. I have had a knot there for years and it can become quite painful at times. I have seen numerous doctors about it and each one tells me to do something different. Each time I try what they say to do and the knot never goes away. Every doctor I have seen is an MD. I had never heard of a DO until I found this video. Should I look for a doctor who is a DO rather than an MD?

  30. This was a really interesting video. Do you work with or personally know any PAs? If so, could you make a video explaining the difference between doctors and PAs (job duties, education requirements, advantages/disadvantages of each)?

  31. My rheumatologist is a double board certified immunology/rheumatology. He's never done any manipulation on me though. He also knew what he was looking at when he got my test results whereas several other Dr's didn't. It turned out that I needed to be treated by an endocrinologist because my body just doesn't produce adrenaline and he was a DO. I really got lucky to find him.

  32. Yay for holistic approach medicine. I’ve had MD’s and DO’s and my experience has usually been better with a DO (usually). The body is an amazing thing and really is designed to heal itself in many ways.

  33. Thanks for this, Dr. I'm starting DO school and can just link people to this video instead of going through the rigamarole every time.

  34. Interesting. There’s still yet to be research found that proves the effectiveness of osteopathic medicine.

    Furthermore, much of the hate of DOs comes from their lower academic requirements as well as a lower rate of matching into residencies compared to MDs.

  35. The way you describe the DO philosophy is exactly how modern-day MD education works. The only significant difference between DOs and MDs is the osteopathy bit. Osteopathy is neither evidence-based, nor scientific… I've never understood this American thing.

  36. That cervical technique was so fucking disgusting. Gross rotation manipulation without any specificity. Stop doing it if you don't know what you are doing

  37. Could you do a video explaining what a M.B.B.S. is! I work in radiology at a level 1 trauma center and we go in on vascular cases to do subtraction c arm images and I’ve always just been curious about what their training is and what they are able to do compared to an MD

  38. My ob/gyn is an DO and is the best doctor I’ve ever had. He’s so calm, listens and treats you like a friend, if it wasn’t for him I would of had a horrible time having my son like I did with my daughter.

  39. So what would you say the main differences are between a D.O. and a chiropractor? (besides pharmaceuticals and surgery)

  40. Thank you for explaining this-I was always confused. I wish you were my doctor, but it’s a bit of a commute from Virginia to the New York/New Jersey metro area…

  41. is there a way for D.O's to become M.D.'s and vice versa? given your explanation in this vid., I would guess there isn't much reason to do so unless a D.O. was looking to practice somewhere internationally, where the M.D. is more recognized and accepted as a medical credential

  42. I went on a tour of an osteopathic medical school and fell in love. I was able to see students practicing OMT and also see state of the art technology used to train students. Becoming a DO is definitely one of my bigger career paths but I still am unsure of what route I want to take. This video was great!

  43. Ugh, that just looked like chiropractic stuff. One of my oldest friends’ dad was an orthopedic surgeon who warned me against chiropractics, and I’ve had so many knee, back, and neck probs. The MD referred me to PT, which oftentimes worked. We went to surgery as a last resort option. Chiropractors scare me. In college, one propositioned me. That aside, I never felt any relief. Never heard of DO before Dr. Mike, I clearly need to research-

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