This is a great word a learnt recently!  It means that sense of peer-to-peer understanding that we get when communicating with someone we don’t necessarily know, but with whom we share some common bond, e.g. professional status.  So, a doctor speaking to another doctor will always get a fair hearing on a controversial subject, whereas a manager or politician may not. 

It doesn’t mean that your peer will agree with you unthinkingly, but you will at least get a ‘foot in the door’ to make your pitch.  If you don’t have homophily with your audience, you should consider ‘buying it in’; in other words, bring someone with you who does, and let them do the talking.

Bear in mind that homophily works best the closer the bond.  Thus, a doctor-doctor bond is fine, but a GP-GP bond works better than a GP-Consultant one.

Homophily is crucial for clinical engagement with controversial subjects and sceptics!


2 thoughts on “Homophily

  1. Hi
    A friend of mine had a good idea for feedback for consultations (outpatients). when you leave the outpatients room you choose a colour for feedback (red – a great experience; yellow – ok; green – we survived it) and post it (you need something that creates a bar chart). The doc and everyone else then gets to see how the patients rated the sessions that morning as a whole. Immediate and simple feedback!

  2. Thanks Becky, you are my first proper comment (porn spammers excluded)!

    It sounds a good idea, Becky! A bit like the smiley faces to touch as you leave motorway service station toilets!

    Though ‘we survived it’ as best, is hardly a glowing endorsement!

    This illustrates how, that in the NHS, we tend to celebrate the mediocre. Couldn’t we be ‘delighted by the experience’ or ‘could not have been better’?

    Starbuck’s wouldn’t be content if the best their customers could rate them was ‘we survived it’!

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