Research: HARTOG,

Listed in Issue 184


HARTOG,  Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany. reviews [79 refs] effective communication patterns in homeopathy.


Patients are increasingly attracted to homeopathy despite the unproven effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. Clinical benefit of homeopathy may be due to communication. This review aims to identify and assess effective communication patterns in homeopathy.


Narrative review and synthesis of published communication patterns, patient narratives and the author's professional experience as a homeopathic practitioner.


In the biomedical model, where the focus is on disease, communication is physician-centred with early redirection of patients' concerns, and associated with reduced compliance, increasing risk of malpractice claims and low professional fulfilment. The biopsychosocial and the developing integrative medicine models are based on biomedicine but aim to include the whole person. Patient-centeredness is a behaviour that elicits, respects and incorporates patients' wishes, allows active patient participation and is related to improved outcomes. The homeopathic model is based on holism and comprehension of the totality of the patient and uses patient-centred communication with a high degree of physician co-operation, empathy, hopefulness, enablement and narrative competence, all of which can improve outcomes.


Both biopsychosocial and homeopathic models rely on patient-centred communication. Regardless of conceptual differences, they overlap in their common respect for the totality and individuality of the patient. The study of the homeopathic model shows that respect for the whole person is a basic requirement to entrench patient-centeredness more firmly in medicine. DISCUSSION: Medical education should include values such as individual coping strategies, the benefits of a sound and healthy life-style and the necessity of hope and enablement. Health care should be redesigned to honour physicians who practice these values. [References: 79]


Hartog CS. Elements of effective communication--rediscoveries from homeopathy. [Review] [79 refs]. Patient Education & Counseling.  77(2): 172-8. Nov 2009. Comment in: Patient Educ Couns. 77(2):151-2; PMID: 19773145. Nov 2009.

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