Despite their growing numbers and acceptance, many everyday people – and even some physician recruiters – are unaware of the fact that D.O.s hold the same rights and privileges as M.D.s. But while D.O.s are one of the fastest growing segments of the physician population (about 25% of new medical school graduates will be one), many employers are still shying away from bringing them on board.
While this reluctance to hire osteopathic physicians often stems from a lack of information about these physicians and the rigorous training they receive, many employers are doing themselves a disservice by failing to consider them alongside their allopathic counterparts.
Below are 5 ways including D.O.s as part of your recruitment pool can improve your practice:
1. Robust Training in Treating Musculoskeletal Conditions
In the United States, Musculoskeletal injuries account for 131 million physician visits each year. But while many Americans would benefit from a physician competent in treating musculoskeletal conditions, very few MDs (about 31%) feel comfortable treating lower back pain. In contrast, the vast majority (over 84%) of osteopathic physicians felt very comfortable dealing with such conditions. By bringing on DOs, you increase the chances that your practice will be able to treat this large segment of the population effectively.
2. Emphasis on Primary Care
Osteopathic medical schools have long funneled the majority of their graduates to primary care. With an emphasis on preventative care and community medicine, the students drawn to these types of medical schools tend to be predisposed towards primary care. Additionally, many practices may need to turn to DOs to meet their growing need for primary care physicians. As many more MDs choose to go into specialty practice, the vast majority of osteopathic physicians still choose primary care (over 60%). These physicians are needed by many practices to meet the growing needs of their patient population.
3. Increased Diversity
As America continues to become more diverse, the need for physicians that reflect the diversity in our communities is becoming increasingly important. Although fewer than 25% of physicians are minorities, the minority population in the United States is on track to become the majority by 2050. Osteopathic medical schools, in contrast to allopathic schools, have a long history of trying to improve the diversity of their medical student classes. And recently, these same schools have indicated there commitment to recruit more hispanic students into their medical schools. By including DOs in your pool of potential candidates, you are increasing the likelihood that your practice will hire physicians that more adequately represent the communities which they serve.
4. Passion for Working with Under Served Communities
Getting physicians to work in rural and under served communities is becoming an increasingly difficult task. As physicians flock to metropolitan areas with a variety of cultural and recreational options, areas without access to those same resources are struggling to find physicians to meet the needs of their communities. D.O.s, however, have a well documented commitment to serving in rural and under served areas, with some medical schools making part of their mission to dispatch physicians to these areas.
5. A “Whole Body” Approach
The philosophy behind osteopathic medicine involves addressing not just a specific condition, but the whole person. As the world of health care moves in the direction of comprehensive care and a team based approach, this focus on the whole person – mind, body, spirit – is wholly aligned with this new approach. Additionally, the cultural movement towards complimentary and integrative medicine also aligns with this philosophy.
As the physician shortage continues to worsen, many employers will find themselves with no option but to consider D.O.s. But while some may think considering them is a necessity due increased demand, osteopathic physicians can in fact bring unique and in-demand skills to any practice that can improve the way they treat their patients.