Understanding homeopathic decision-making: a qualitative study

Burch, Alexandra L. and Dibb, Bridget (2008) Understanding homeopathic decision-making: a qualitative study Forschende Komplementärmedizin und Klassische Naturheilkunde (Research in Complementary and Classical Natural Medicine), 15, (4), pp. 218-225. (doi:10.1159/000138511). (PMID:18787331).


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Background: understanding how homeopaths make clinical decisions is important in terms of optimising patient care, yet currently little is understood about this process. Most current literature investigating decision-making has focussed on conventional medicine; to date only two studies, both quantitative, have explored this area, with both studies investigating this in homeopathy. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how homeopaths make prescribing decisions primarily during their first consultation with a patient.

Method: in-depth, semistructured, face to face interviews were carried out with 14 private homeopaths working in private practice. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was carried out on the data by 3 researchers.

Findings: cognitive processes that homeopaths used in decision-making emerged from the analysis included the use of pattern recognition (P), hypothetico-deductive reasoning (H) and intuition (I), which led to a precise remedy match (R-M). Four themes emerged from the data: three related to the process of making a decision; one theme to those factors that influence this process. These themes fitted into a decision-making model, which we describe: the P.H.I.RM decision-making model. Two further themes emerged, which contributed to the model: the practitioners' awareness of avoiding major bias and the role of the patient practitioner relationship in influencing decision-making. Conclusion: The P.H.I.R-M decision-making model describes how homeopathic practitioners' used an evidence-based process to make decisions. This study also contributes more weight to the accumulating evidence that intuition is a valuable component of decisionmaking for homeopathic practitioners.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1159/000138511
ISSNs: 1661-4119 (print)
Keywords: qualitative study, interpretative phenomenological analysis, decision-making, homeopathy, practitioner
ePrint ID: 61687
Date :
Date Event
September 2008Published
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:30
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/61687

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