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Research project: Understanding homeopathic decision-making: a qualitative study  - Dormant - Dormant

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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 consultations with a patients.



In-depth, semi-structured, face to face interviews were carried out with fourteen 14 private homeopaths working in private practice. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was carried out on the data by three 3 researchers.



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.R-M decision- making model. One Two further themes emerged, which contributed to the model:, showing the practitioners’ awareness of avoiding major bias and the role of the patient-practitioner relationship in influencing decision- making.



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 decision- making for homeopathic practitioners.


Project team

Dr Sarah Brien (PI)

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes

Conferences and events associated with this project:

Orally  presented at 1st European Congress for Integrative Medicine, Berlin, 2008.

Abstract presented  at  Society for Academic Primary Care Annual conference, Galway, Ireland 2008.

Oral presentation at South West Society for Academic Primary Care South West Annual conference, Winchester 2007

Key Publication

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