Interview with lawyer, Jeanette, Onyx Legal
Ellie Bakker, Marketing Director, Splice Marketing
We, as a marketing agency, do a lot of online research as to what chiropractors are saying and what healthcare professionals are saying overall. We do come across a lot of chiropractors and other healthcare professionals, particularly in Allied Health that say … And again, I’m coming back to chiropractor … “I’m a chiropractor that specialises in sports. I’m a sports chiropractic.” Can I say that? Can you say that as a chiropractor?
Jeanette Jifkins, Principal Lawyer, Onyx Legal
You need to be aware of what the actual requirements are around specialists registration. My stronger background is actually in psychology and I was on one of the AHPRA psychology boards for six and a half years. And in psychology, there are nine specialities and if you have qualified and become registered as a specialist, then you can say you’re a specialist in, say, community psychology or clinical psychology; those sorts of things.
And if you haven’t got those qualifications, you can’t say you’re a specialist. With chiropractic, it’s the same. You need to be aware of what levels of registration there are and what you’re allowed to say and not allowed to say. And generally speaking, in the regulated professions, you can’t use specialists.
Even though we, as a firm, in the legal profession do a lot of work with people doing business online, we can’t say we’re online specialists because it apparently creates an expectation in the public that you have skills over and above everybody else and you’re not allowed to do that unless you actually have a registration to back it up.
With chiropractic, you can talk about … It depends on your business and what you feel comfortable with. From a business perspective, I talk about it as a risk profile or a risk appetite, so how much risk are you prepared to take? Are you prepared … Do you want to be completely compliant and never have an issue with a regulator? Then you would be more conservative in the way you express yourself. If you’re prepared to push the boundaries and maybe hear from the regulator, then you might talk more about things that could be on the border of what the regulators may be interested in and ask for forgiveness later. You know, go through the process of correcting what they want corrected.
It depends on where you are in your business and what you feel comfortable with as to how far you go. And then, when you do talk about more general health and wellbeing, make sure you have the evidence base to back it up. And yes, that does mean you have the scientific papers and you have the research and all of that sort of thing sitting there in a file that you’re able to present if you’re ever challenged.