The importance of empathy in the enablement of patients attending the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital

S.W. Mercer, D.T. Reilly, G.C.M. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patient enablement in general practice is known to be limited by consultation length. However, the processes within the consultation that lead to enablement are not well understood. AIMS: To investigate patient enablement in a setting where time is less of a constraint than in primary care, in order to determine the importance of other factors in enablement. DESIGN OF STUDY: Exploratory questionnaire-based study. SETTING: Two hundred consecutive outpatients attending four doctors at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital, an NHS-funded integrated complementary and orthodox medicine unit. METHOD: Information was collected on enablement and a range of other factors, including the patients expectations, their perception of the doctors empathy, and the doctors own confidence in the doctor-patient relationship. RESULTS: Although there were many factors that correlated with enablement, multi-regression analysis showed patients expectation, doctor's empathy (as perceived by the patient), and doctor's own confidence in the therapeutic relationship to be the three key factors. Together they accounted for 41% of the variation in enablement, with empathy being the single most important factor (66% of the explained variation in enablement). CONCLUSION: Patient enablement at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital is mainly related to the patients perception of the doctor's empathy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-905
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number484
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

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