Clinic Media

AHPRA Advertising Guidelines: Clarity or Contradiction?

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As I outlined previously AHPRA recently release updated  advertising guidelines and added a new social media policy. These changes came into effect on 17th March 2014.

The changes to the advertising guidelines caused widespread outcry from health practitioners, due to the stance taken by AHPRA regarding patient reviews and testimonials.  The updated guidelines effectively made it the practitioner’s responsibility to seek removal of  reviews containing comment on clinical matters  from all websites and social media, whether they are in their control or not.

I won’t go into the full details here, as I have covered this comprehensively already.

The Fallout

Regulated Health Practitioners have been understandably very upset about this new obligation, with many practitioners voicing their concerns via social media. The medical board attempted to ease concerns by issuing a media release stating (in part):

“The Board expects practitioners to take reasonable steps to remove testimonials they are using to advertise or promote regulated health services they provide, or when the testimonials are used by someone advertising the regulated services on their behalf. (This could be a third party who is advertising the services the practitioner provides at the practitioner’s request). But the Board recognises that practitioners are unable to control what is written about them in a public forum.”

Media coverage called this statement a backflip. However it failed to ease the concerns of may practitioners, as there was confusion about why AHPRA had not officially commented, where this left practitioners of other regulated health professions and were doctors to follow the revised guidelines, or the media statement.

I contacted AHPRA to seek clarification personally, however I received no response. Read More

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What Health Care Professionals need to know about Online Testimonials

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AHPRA Social Media & Testimonials**Update: There have been some recent developments to this issue. The information below is still relevant, however I suggest reading this post too.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) recently released revised guidelines, codes of conduct and a new social media policy, that come into effect on 17 March 2014. These policy updates effect all practitioners of regulated health professions Australia wide.

These revision have sparked some very concerned discussion in the healthcare community due to the changes made to the Advertising guidelines that clarify the regulations surrounding online testimonials.

Section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 has prohibited the use of testimonials in advertising since it was introduced. However this update significantly expands on the obligations that a health practitioner has to monitor and remove online testimonials.

In regards to online testimonials the advertising guidelines now state:

“A practitioner must take reasonable steps to have any testimonials associated with their health service or business removed when they become aware of them, even if they appear on a website that is not directly associated and/or under the direct control or administration of that health practitioner and/or their business or service.  This includes unsolicited testimonials.

‘Reasonable steps’ include taking action in the practitioner’s power, such as directly removing, or requesting removal, of the testimonials.“

Additionally the updated guidelines now state the following in relation to practitioners social media profiles and pages: Read More

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