The significant influence of advertising on consumer behaviour has necessitated the imposition of certain regulatory principles in healthcare advertising, in particular, to protect consumers from being misled by inaccurate information and healthcare practitioners from being served notifications of the complaint. While advertising has a role to play in directing consumers to the regulated healthcare services available, medical advertising has to pay attention to compliance practices in order to be deemed lawful according to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) guidelines and policies.
The call for stricter compliance with medical advertising regulations comes off the back of the high number of complaints received against healthcare practitioners. Official figures released in the latest Annual Report from the Dental Board Australia attributed 784 notifications were lodged.
One way for the dental profession to circumvent these unnecessary notifications is to ensure that all communication with the consumer including Dental marketing is in accordance with statutory guidelines and practices.
How to comply with AHPRA guidelines
Marketing in this highly digitalised world will extend from print marketing using things like specialist print finishing machines, TV and Radio ads to website copy and ads on all social media platforms. When it comes to acceptable dental marketing services, it would be best to ask a few important questions regarding the information you want to communicate to the public.
- Can this information be misinterpreted?
- Can this information be found misleading?
- Is all the necessary information the consumer will need to know covered in the information presented?
- Is this marketing material creating unrealistic expectations?
- Is there enough evidence detailed to back any claims made?
It also pays to pay close attention to the specific words, phrases and terms used that may be interpreted as offering an indirect promise or guarantee. Words one needs to be careful of using include cure, proven and experienced. It is also best to refrain from including any testimonials or reviews as part of the marketing material.
Failure to meet compliance guidelines will put dental practices at risk of receiving an AHPRA advertising warning.
Yes, there are restrictions to be aware of but there are still plenty of opportunities in digital marketing for healthcare practitioners to get one’s message out to the consumer looking for a particular product or service.
How to use digital medical marketing for maximum effect
Digital marketing is, of course, only worth its investment if these efforts generate the maximum desirable effects that result in positive responses from a prospective patient. It is only logical that those who have direct knowledge and experience in medical advertising and who have access to and know how to interpret digital marketing data will know the best practice techniques to use to get the job done. Digital medical advertising service providers are best placed in the industry to include those trends that have shown to be effective and which comply with Australian marketing guidelines and policies.
Ethical medical advertising need not be a confusing matter. For more information on how you can advertise your healthcare practice in accordance with regulations or for dental marketing Australia services, get in touch with Dental Focus Marketing.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.