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What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)?
If you're like most people, you've been going to physicians ever since you were born and perhaps were not aware whether that some or all of them were osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs. You may not even be aware that there are two types of complete physicians in the United States—DOs and MDs.

The fact is that both DOs and MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. Is there any difference between these two kinds of physicians? Yes and no.

DOs and MDs are alike in many ways:

  • Students entering both DO and MD medical colleges typically have already completed four-year bachelor's degrees with an emphasis on scientific courses.

  • Both DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical education.

  • After medical school, both DOs and MDs obtain graduate medical education through internships, residencies and fellowships. This training lasts three to eight years and prepares DOs and MDs to practice a specialty.

  • Both DOs and MDs can choose to practice in any specialty of medicine—such as pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery or ophthalmology.

  • DOs and MDs must pass comparable examinations to obtain state licenses.

  • DOs and MDs both practice in accredited and licensed health care facilities.

  • Together, DOs and MDs enhance the state of health care available in the U.S.

DOs, however, belong to a separate yet equal branch of American medical care. It is the ways that DOs and MDs are different that can bring an extra dimension to your health care.

What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?
Insurance card, payment and a list of current prescriptions, as well as over-the-counter medications, any films and reports of X-rays, MRIs or CT scans that you had recently, if necessary.

What are some examples of emergency medical situations?
An emergency generally involves an illness that is currently or potentially life threatening. Although this is not a complete list, here are examples of true emergency situations: chest pain, stroke symptoms, trouble breathing, sudden, severe pain, such as a headache or stomachache, head or back injuries, bleeding or vomiting that won't stop, loss of consciousness, poisoning, major burns and cuts, choking, an obviously crooked extremity after a fall or accident. Individuals experiencing any of these conditions should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.

What are Advance Directives?
Novant Medical Group practices support a patient's rights to make decisions about their medical care and treatment, especially in situations where they cannot make their wishes known. We have information available about Advance Directives.

Prescription Refills Policy
Please allow for a 24 to 48 hour turn around on prescription refills. If you need a refill, contact your pharmacist before your supply runs out. This allows ample time for the pharmacist to obtain approval from our physicians and prepare your medications. Refills are not handled after-hours or on weekends.




Novant Health Primary Care Partners | 10500 Ligon Mill Road Suite 113 Wake Forest, NC 27587 | 919-570-5705 | Fax 919-570-5710

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