The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or (AHPRA) sets standards and policies for healthcare advertising for all registered health practitioners, including dentists.
‘Unlawful advertising can negatively influence healthcare choices and involve risks to public safety. When preparing their advertising, a health practitioner should always put the public first and ensure their advertising is not false, misleading or deceptive.’ Martin Fletcher, AHPRA CEO.
Advertising beaches may incur prosecution or financial penalty, so it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the latest advertising guidelines set out by AHPRA when building your brand.
The AHPRA Guidelines for advertising a regulated health service helps dental practitioners and their advertising representatives gain a thorough understand of the responsibilities when it comes to advertising a healthcare service.
In a nutshell, AHPRA prohibits advertising that:
- is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to be misleading or deceptive
- offers a gift, discount or other inducement to attract a person to use the service or business, unless the advertisement also states the terms and conditions of the offer
- uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business
- creates an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or
- directly or indirectly encourages the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of
- regulated health services.
Acceptable and Unacceptable Evidences
So, what is considered as acceptable or unacceptable evidence?
Here’s a flowchart prepared by AHPRA & National Boards to help you decide:
To know more, Click Here
Using the term ‘Specialist’
You should use the term ‘specialist’ ‘specialises in’, ‘specialty’, or ‘specialised’ only if the practitioner holds a specialist registration, qualifications or an endorsement. Otherwise, you should refrain from using it because this will mislead the patients.
It should be noted that the title relates specifically to the position held. However, you can say that the practitioner a special interest in a certain area of practice if they do not hold a specialist registration, qualifications or an endorsement.
Testimonials still are unacceptable to be used in advertising. This includes your website, social media posts, brochures or any other form of advertising to attract patients.
Having said that, your patients can still review you on 3rd party websites which you cannot control, such as Google reviews. However, you are not allowed to directly advertise those reviews.
Offers, Gifts and Discounts
When you are promoting any offers and discounts, it is mandatory to mention the terms and conditions clearly. It should be easily found and accessible.
Awards and Merits
If the practitioner has been awarded education degree by a professional body or National Board, such information should be clearly specified. It should be mentioned title of the award, awarded by which body and when.
Disclaimer: All the information mentioned above is general, for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice. It is advised to consider your specific circumstances for the implications of the updated regulations.