Administrative Update  |   April 2019
Truth in Advertising: Who IS That ‘Doctor’?
Author Affiliations
  • Beverly K. Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA
    ASA First Vice President
Article Information
Education / CPD / Practice Management / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Administrative Update
Administrative Update   |   April 2019
Truth in Advertising: Who IS That ‘Doctor’?
ASA Monitor 4 2019, Vol.83, 6-7.
ASA Monitor 4 2019, Vol.83, 6-7.
Doctorates are the final degrees in several health professions. There are doctoral degrees for physical therapy (DPT), physician assistants (DMS), social work (DSW) and occupational therapy (OTD), as well as nursing (DNP). By convention, all such practitioners call themselves “doctor.” These practitioners may be expert in their specific professions, but none of these are Doctors of Medicine (M.D./D.O.), the only doctors that are licensed to practice medicine and are called physicians. All members of the care team provide expertise and value, but when patients come for medical care, they need to know the education and training of the “Doctor” they meet.
1 Comment
April 5, 2019
James Quinn
Retired Massachusetts General Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance, MA.
Incorrect Terminology: Physician Anesthesiologist
Utilizing "physician" as an adjective before "anesthesiologist" implies that there are other types of "anesthesiologist" that exist. Compelling market research aside, we should have been very clearly conveying the facts that "Anesthesiologists are Physicians" and that "Anesthesiology is a Physician Medical Specialty." This is very clear and informative, yet brief. Unfortunately, the ADA has recognized their specialty of Dentist Anesthesiologist, which fortifies the concept of multiple types of Anesthesiologists. The public's perception of caregivers and not legislation will decide this issue. The CRNA is viewed more often as a direct provider of care by patients, as they interact with the CRNAs more than with the supervising or directing anesthesiologist.
Further, an anesthesiologist should introduce themselves as the physician directing/supervising the
anesthetic care for this particular patient. Again, concise and clear.

Although I wish my specialty well, I do have the opinion that "physician anesthesiologist" has been a poor choice to describe our specialty. Actually, I feel it continues to contribute to the confusion in the mind of the public and the ADA.
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