Get ready for a DO boom: 26% of first-year medical students to become doctors of osteopathic medicine

While doctors of osteopathic medicine currently make up roughly 8.5 percent of licensed physicians, experts suggest the percentage will increase dramatically during the coming years, according to a Health Affairs blog post.

After doubling enrollment during the past 10 years, 26 percent of first-year medical students pursue a medical education at an osteopathic medical school, while approximately 17.6 percent of DO physicians reported entering residency and other graduate medical education programs in 2015, according to the report.  

Here are six additional statistics from the report.

1. The match rate for DO physicians in the National Resident Matching Program grew from 75 percent to 82 percent between 2013 and 2017.

2. In 2017, 99 percent of DO residency applicants were successfully matched through a variety of match placement programs.

3. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and American Osteopathic Association revealed plans to transition to a single accreditation system, which will reportedly be fully implemented by 2020. Accredited AOA programs are currently in the process of application and review by ACGME.

4. Between 2009 and 2016, the percentage of women matriculating into a DO medical school decreased from 47 percent to 46 percent. However, the number of underrepresented minorities increased slightly from 7 percent to 8.5 percent.

5. Experts suggest a medical school's location plays a significant role in determining the ultimate practice location for each graduate. The majority of DO medical schools are located in medically underserved areas or areas that report a shortage of health professionals. Graduates from these schools tend to set up their practices in rural and underserved locations, the report states.

6. Nearly half (45 percent) of osteopathic medicine physicians practice primary care and account for 10 percent of all primary care physicians in the U.S. In comparison, 34 percent of medical doctors identify as primary care physicians.

To read the full blog post, click here.

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