Keeping Your Marketing On The Right Side Of Industry Regulations
Majority of healthcare practitioners – dentists, general practitioners, chiropractors, specialists – are running scared by the AHPRA guidelines due to fears of liability or, as a result of the backlash some healthcare practitioners have received from their marketing or advertising.
However, there is no need to let the industry regulations deter you from marketing or advertising you, your services or your healthcare practice.
Instead, take the time to understand the various guidelines, codes and policies which have been introduced by industry bodies so you get an understanding of the do’s and don’ts of medical and healthcare marketing particularly around:
- Privacy and confidentially
- Presentation of information to be factual, evidence-based and unbiased
- Professional Obligations
- Requirements to not make unsubstantiated claims
To help you get started, we’ve listed some of the major regulations, guidelines, and codes that govern marketing and advertising in the healthcare industry. See our list below.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has put together a comprehensive document detailing the guidelines and policies regarding responsible marketing and advertising of a regulated health service. These guidelines are binding for all registered healthcare professionals in Australia.
Some of the key points from the guidelines include:
- Testimonials – Healthcare professionals are unable to control what their patients say about them, be it positive or negative in personal social media pages, or online forums, however, testimonials made on an advertising platform which is in their control, for example, their practice social media accounts or their practice website need to be actively monitored and removed.
- Ensuring marketing and advertising is not misleading and will not compromise the healthcare choices of prospective patients.
- To not directly or indirectly encourage the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of a regulated health service.
- Creating unreasonable expectation about the benefits of a treatment
- Preventing the use of gifts or discounts to attract a prospective patient, unless the advertisement specifically states the terms and conditions of your offer
View the full AHPRA guidelines.
AHPRA and Social Media and Advertising
“How do the advertising guidelines and social media policy apply to online comments about practitioners?”
“Social media is part of everyday life so why can’t I use it?”
These are just some of the many frequently asked questions when it comes to social media, advertising and what is and isn’t allowed by AHPRA. Luckily, AHPRA has compiled a document covering some of the common questions health practitioners ask when it comes to AHPRA. View the document here.
Information sourced from Communications Council.
Australian Medical Association (AMA) Code of Ethics
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) – Code of Ethics document provides detail on the obligations and the guidelines for appropriate conduct and ethics when dealing with patients, peers and the community.
Read more about the AMA Code of Ethics.
The Medical Board of Australia (MBA)
The Medical Board of Australia works closely with AHPRA and has developed guidelines to help healthcare practitioners understand their obligations when advertising a regulated health service.
These guidelines complement the Australian Medical Association’s Code of Ethics.
The Australian Medical Association and Other Regulatory Bodies
The Australian Medical Association (AMA), in collaboration with three peak medical bodies, has created a document around online professionalism guidelines, ”Social Media and the Medical Profession”. A good read before you start any social media marketing.
Where else to look for healthcare regulations?
Don’t forget to check out any rules and regulations as stipulated by your peak body:
- Chiropractors –Chiropractors‘ Association of Australia (CAA)
- General Practitioners – Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Dentists – Australian Dental Association
- Podiatrists – Australian Podiatry Council
- Physiotherapists – Australian Physiotherapy Association
- Orthopaedic Specialists – Australian Orthopaedic Association
Legal entities opinions for healthcare and medical marketing and industry regulations.
Some well respected legal firms have provided comment on what health practitioners can and cannot do with it comes to marketing and advertising. Here are a few quick links:
- TressCox Lawyers – Testimonials and Social Media
- Hall & Wilcox Lawyers – Understanding AHPRA’s strategy to compliance and enforcement
Being a marketing agency specialising in healthcare and medial marketing in Australia, we understand these rules and regulations that govern the industry and partner with you to market your practice whilst ensuring compliance. For peace of mind marketing, contact us at Splice Marketing today!
We want to keep this article as up to date and as useful as possible so if you notice anything missing, please contact us so we can add it to the list. Let us know in the comments section below.
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