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J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Aug;11(4):591-600.

A pilot prospective study on the consultation and relational empathy, patient enablement, and health changes over 12 months in patients going to the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital.

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AdHom Academic Departments, Centre for Integrative Care, Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital, Glasgow, United Kingdom.



To relate prospectively initial consultation characteristics-length, empathy, and patient enablement- with perceived health changes in patients going to the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital (GHH).


Consecutive outpatients completed the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) measure and the Patient Enablement Instrument (PEI) immediately after their first consultations, again at 3 months, and the PEI also at 12 months. The Short Form-12 was completed immediately before and the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome (MYMOP) Profile during the first consultation, and both were repeated at 3 and 12 months. Perceived changes in main complaint and well-being were assessed using the Glasgow Homoeopathic Outcome Scale (GHHOS).


Empathy score at first consultation was highly predictive of ongoing empathy score at 3 months (Spearman's rho, 0.572, p < 0.0001). Empathy scores at first consultation also correlated significantly with enablement score at first consultation (rho, 0.325, p < 0.0001) and overall enablement at 12 months (rho, 0.281; p < 0.05). Controlling for the number of subsequent consultations, initial empathy scores were also predictive of change in main complaint, and general well-being, at 3 months (rho, 0.225, 0.213 respectively; p < 0.05). Enablement score at first consultation also predicted overall enablement at 3 months (rho, 0.255; p < 0.05) and 12 months (rho, 0.282; p < 0.05). Initial enablement predicted GHOSS well-being score at 3 months after controlling for number of consultations (rho, 0.279; p < 0.05). Both empathy and enablement at 3 months predicted overall enablement at 12 months (rho, 0.327; p < 0.01 and rho, 0.577; p < 0.0001, respectively). Empathy at 3 months was not significantly related to GHHOS scores at 12 months, whereas enablement scores at 3 months were highly predictive of both GHHOS main complaint and well-being scores at 12 months (rho, 0.459 and 0.507, respectively; p < 0.0001). Empathy and enablement scores did not correlate significantly with changes in SF-12 and MYMOP scores at any of the time points. The length of the first consultation was related to initial and subsequent CARE scores, overall enablement, and GHHOS scores at 3 and 12 months.


Empathy is crucial for enablement, which, in turn, is strongly related to perceived change in main complaint and well-being. The length of time the clinician spends with a patient at initial consultation appears to be an important factor in these complex relationships among process and outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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