Osteopathic physicians (also called doctors of osteopathic medicine, or DOs) are doctors who base diagnosis
and treatment on the theory that the body's systems are interconnected. They combine disease prevention and health maintenance with conventional medicine.
DOs often use a treatment called manipulation or manual medicine, which is a
hands-on approach that may include massage or pressure on an area of the
DOs can prescribe medicine, order
medical tests, and perform surgery. They serve as primary care providers,
provide care in hospital settings, and may become certified in a specialty,
such as anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, or general surgery.
Osteopathic physicians complete osteopathic medical school, followed by an internship and residency program. Accreditation of
colleges of osteopathic medicine is recognized by the U.S. Department of
Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education.
Like doctors who have an MD (Medical Doctor) degree,
DOs must pass a state medical board examination to obtain a license and enter
practice. Each state board sets its own requirements and then issues the
license for the osteopathic physician to practice in that state. All states
require licensure for osteopathic physicians.
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.