If you are aware of dental marketing strategies to help dentists get potential patients to the clinic, you must also ensure that all is performed under the law outlined by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, i.e., AHPRA.
The AHPRA guidelines are designed to secure patients and assist dental practitioners in getting a better online presence. It also applies to third parties related to health care service marketing, including copywriters, non-registered dentists, advertising agencies, etc.
In short, if you perform any marketing campaign, then AHPRA guidelines come into action. Therefore, knowing what you can consider while performing dental advertising is vital and what you should avoid. In this blog, you will see the worth of AHPRA guidelines.
Dental advertising titles are not only allowed but actively encouraged. However, it is essential not to use the particular titles mentioned confusingly or rudely. For example, there are some situations where the term “doctor” can be confused with a medical practitioner. In other words, if the marketing does not clarify that it is a dentist. In this case, to avoid confusion, the title should be “Dr Carl Jonas (dentist)”. This makes it clear that Dr Smith is a dentist while eliminating patients’ doubts.
If you don’t mention your skills or years of experience, then listing your qualifications is allowed under AHPRA advertising guidelines. For every dentist, it is helpful as listing qualification details helps potential patients decide about choosing a particular dentist per their dental requirements. However, the qualifications of a dentist should be listed if they meet the following criteria:-
Mentioning dental qualifications and approvals are the best method to inform future patients that you have skills beyond the normal role of a general dentist. For example, if you say you are an orthodontic specialist, you must be correct, dedicated, and have additional training. This is an addition to the training already completed as a general dentist.
At the same time, the AHPRA guidelines state that misusing the word “specialist” and phrases that can be mistaken for being specialists can put you in danger. Therefore, if in doubt, try using other words such as “have much experience” or “especially interested”. Remember that clarity is the key to boosting your dental practice’s online presence.
Guidelines set by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency state that the proposed use of scientific information is lawful, but only if used to support the claim. It must come from a trustworthy source, describing the scientific paper in which it is revealed. Any term should be easy for an amateur to understand. Finally, it should be precise, balanced, and not confusing.
Under the AHPRA guidelines, advertising pricing is acceptable as long as it doesn’t mislead anyone. For example, it should not be advised that a patient can receive dental implant treatment for only $400, and other out-of-pocket costs may be incurred are not cleared. This includes the cost of crowns, abutments, and other necessary pre-implantation activities such as bone grafts and sinus lifts. In addition, AHPRA allows you to make claims such as “minimum cost” when not supported by solid facts.
Information that is confusing or simply inaccurate is not acceptable in any form. This includes data that has been twisted or changed to fit the agenda or information that has been deliberately misplaced to enhance the company’s image. According to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, false ads can long-lasting impact patients, especially those that provide incorrect information.
Medical practitioners are not allowed to use patients’ feedback for promotional purposes. Also, healthcare professionals cannot repost or retweet positive comments from one person on social media to another for promotional reasons. Comments on staff and accessibility are allowed on the dental website. However, no acknowledgements related to the clinical care received by the patient are allowed. Here, AHPRA conveys that one’s view does not represent the clinical outcome of another.
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