Now that we’re less than a month away from the start of 2021, it’s a great time to review your advertising strategies and make sure that you’re up-to-date with AHPRA regulations.
Here’s a quick review on what you should keep in mind regarding AHPRA and some quick tips for keeping your website clear of any complaints from AHPRA.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s (AHPRA’s) primary purpose is to protect the general public through regulations put in place for Australia’s registered health practitioners. A lot of AHPRA’s focus is on advertising, which includes social media posts and your website.
Here are some things to keep in mind that AHPRA looks for when you’re creating and posting advertising content:
Dentists and Specialties
You can’t claim to specialise in any particular area of dentistry until you’ve completed the appropriate training. Here are the dental specialties that the Dental Board of Australia has approved:
For example, even though your dental practice offers invisible braces with Invisalign doesn’t mean that you can claim orthodontic treatment as a specialty. You can, however, give an overview of how Invisalign works and how it differs from traditional braces so your patients can understand the treatment procedure.
Successful Copywriting for Your Website and Social Media
It’s a tricky balance keeping your advertising content engaging and reader-friendly for Google rankings while adhering to AHPRA’s guidelines. Here are some strategies to keep in mind.
Using Before or After Pictures
It is easy for before and after pictures to become misleading; however, they are also one of the best ways to demonstrate the benefits of certain types of dental procedures. Here are some things to keep in mind if you choose to include before and after pictures on your website.
Using Patient Testimonials
AHPRA prohibits using testimonials that are clinical in any way for several reasons. Testimonials are considered opinions and can’t be backed up with scientific data. Opinions are also not balanced since we usually share them when we’re particularly upset or happy.
How do you know if a testimonial is clinical? If it discusses the symptom, treatment, the results of a procedure, or staff completing the procedure. These are the testimonials to avoid.
Here are some other facts to keep in mind about testimonials:
Testimonials can be an excellent way to build confidence about your clinic with new patients. If you are going to use testimonials in your website content be sure they are purely non-clinical, such as, ‘This practice is friendly and welcoming,’ or ‘I had a great experience when I visited this dental clinic.’
What to Do if You Receive an AHPRA Complaint
An AHPRA complaint is addressed and sent to the principal dentist. It gives you a timeline in which you should review and make needed changes to your website, social media posts, and other marketing materials. You can also request an extension, which may give you an extra two to four weeks to complete your changes.
During the review of your marketing materials, AHPRA can look at every social media post you’ve ever made for the clinic, so be prepared to review all of your content and make the appropriate changes.
You can be proactive about protecting your clinic before getting a complaint by reviewing your social media for the past two to three years and removing anything that goes against AHPRA guidelines.
You can also use the helpful tools that AHPRA provides prior to posting anything on your website or social media. The ‘Check My Advertising’ tool will help prevent you from breaking guidelines when you post new content.
By being proactive when you post and taking the time to thoughtfully review the material you choose to share on social media and your website, you can often successfully avoid problems with AHPRA.