More and more questions are popping up around the kind of advertising Medical Practitioners are able to use. Partnering with MDA National, this week we take a closer look at the use of Testimonials for advertising health services.
WHAT IS A TESTIMONIAL?
According to AHPRA, a ‘Testimonial’ is a statement, review, view or feedback about a service received or provided.
In the context of the National Law, a testimonial involves recommendations or positive statements about clinical aspects of a regulated health service.
CAN I USE A TESTIMONIAL AS PART OF MY ADVERTISING?
Section 133(1)(c) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law states that a person must not advertise a regulated health service, or a business that provides a regulated health service, in a way that uses testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business.
AHPRA Guidelines – Use of Testimonials
Testimonials are not able to be used in advertising by registered health practitioners, as they give personal opinions on a service without being objective or having a scientific basis.
One size does not fit all! Testimonials only provide a snapshot of a particular experience and do not necessarily portray the likely outcomes available for everyone.
WILL MY ADVERTISING BE CHECKED?
From a compliance perspective, National Boards such as AHPRA are unable to ‘vet’ or pre-approve advertisements. However, AHPRA offer a testimonial tool that you can use to help determine if your advertising should or should not be published. You can find the Testimonial Tool at this link – https://www.ahpra.gov.au/publications/advertising-resources/check-and-correct/testimonial-tool.aspx
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES?
Any person or business that advertises a regulated health service has an obligation to make sure their advertising complies with the National Law.
As a Medical Practitioner, you are responsible for content on social networking accounts, even if you were not responsible for the initial posting of the information or testimonial. This being said, you are not responsible for removing (or trying to have removed) testimonials published on a website or in social media where you do not have control.
Google reviews are not considered by AHPRA to be within your control, whether or not you have verified your Google listing (unless you respond to a Google review, as this could then be considered a testimonial).
AHPRA and the National Boards do not advise advertisers to edit reviews or testimonials to meet the National Law advertising requirements due to the high risk that the edited reviews will be misleading or deceptive. Reviews and testimonials must not be edited in a way that makes them misleading or deceptive.
GENERAL RULES WHEN ADVERTISING A REGULATED HEALTH SERVICE:
Your advertising must not:
- Be false, misleading or deceptive, or likely to be misleading or deceptive.
- Offer a gift, discount or other inducement, unless the terms and conditions of the offer are also stated.
- Use testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business.
- Create an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment.
- Directly or indirectly encourage the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services.
WHERE SHOULD I BE CHECKING FOR TESTIMONIALS?
Testimonials may be found:
- On the practice website or information brochure
- On the practice website under the ‘Review’s’ tab
- On the Doctor’s Facebook page or Social Media account
- In the comments on a practice’s or doctor’s Instagram feed.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
AHPRA’s website has a lot of useful information about the Guidelines for Advertising Regulated Health Services: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/publications/advertising-resources/legislation-guidelines/advertising-guidelines.aspx
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU:
Contact us directly on [email protected].
Information for this blog has been taken directly from:
People Medical Consulting are a team of professionals with a passion for guiding those specialising in the Medical industry to find their career pathway and settle into Australia. Working with both Australian trained and Overseas trained professionals, we have extensive experience in Recruitment of General Practitioners and Document Assistance for those requiring support with RACGP, AHPRA, 19AA and 19AB Medicare Exemptions.