A new tool to help practitioners and advertisers understand their obligations about using testimonials and reviews to advertise regulated health services is now available.
The testimonials tool is the latest in a series of resources and support materials developed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards to help health practitioners, healthcare providers and other advertisers of regulated health services to comply with the National Law.
The tool includes information and flow charts to help practitioners and advertisers understand why testimonials are not allowed and which reviews or feedback can be used in advertising.
Under section 133(1) of the National Law, 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.
In the context of the National Law, advertising includes any public communication that promotes a regulated health service such as all forms of printed and electronic media. A testimonial includes recommendations or statements about the clinical aspects of a regulated health service.
“Websites and social media have increasingly evolved into major marketing tools,” AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said.
“The National Boards and AHPRA recognise that these sites provide opportunities for patient feedback, but advertisers have a legal and professional responsibility to make sure they don’t use testimonials unlawfully in advertising.
“I encourage practitioners and advertisers to use the testimonials tool to help them get it right. This means not encouraging patients to leave testimonials and removing testimonials published on websites or other online platforms which they control or administer.”
Read more on this topic in the Bite magazine May 2017 feature Advertising: drawing the line on testimonials