A clinical audit of registered homoeopathic practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal
Verhooght, Marianne Bernadette
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From the world wide sales of homeopathic products for 1997, which were estimated to be $1.15 billion homeopathy is growing and becoming an important aspect of healthcare. In South Africa homeopathy is relatively new and there seems to be limited awareness of homeopathy amongst the public and healthcare authorities. A collection of basic data on treatment and prescribing patterns is urgently needed. A clinical audit, namely, practice based clinical research that allows the effectiveness of homeopathy to be evaluated under 'real-life' circumstances, is required. ABSTRACT A clinical audit includes three areas, quality assurance, treatment outcomes and economic outcomes. The study addressed the first two of these areas. Quality assurance includes documenting practitioner and practice demographics, procedures of diagnosis, care and treatment. The treatment outcomes were assessed by the practitioner and the patient. Patients also gave feedback on consumer satisfaction. The study was carried out by using the survey method and the measuring tool was a series of six questionnaires. The sample of practitioners (n = 30) was drawn from registered homeopathic practitioners of Kwazulu Natal (KZN). Data from 158 patients was collected. The study was completed in 5 stages. Stage 1, was a telephonic contact of all registered homeopaths by the researcher. In Stage 2, a face to face interview of participating practitioners was conducted by the researcher. Stage 3 was the initial consultation, where both the practitioner and patient completed questionnaires. Stage 4 consisted of a follow-up consultation where again the practitioner and patient completed post treatment questionnaires. Stage 5 was the exit questionnaire administered to drop out patients by the researcher telephonically.