Is your dental clinic complying with the AHPRA guidelines? Do you understand the purpose of Aphra?
Marketing for the health sector is subject to certain rules and regulations in Australia for public safety. You may be breaching these rules inadvertently if you aren’t aware of them. This can mean paying hefty fines if your content is flagged.
Even though promoting your dental practice online is a viable way to expand your brand’s reach, complying with the laws defined by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is paramount.
But health care providers aren’t the only ones who should be cautious.
While the purpose of AHPRA rules is to safeguard the public and facilitate dentists to understand better what they can and can’t promote, the regulation also applies to the third parties involved in health service marketing.
It includes advertising or media agencies, non-registered practitioners, corporations directly associated with the health sector, and copywriters.
So, what’s the Purpose of AHPRA?
The primary purpose of AHPRA, or the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, is to safeguard the general public with regulations for all registered health practitioners in Australia. A lot of AHPRA’s focus is on advertising services, including social media posts and your dental practice website.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to remember when compiling your AHPRA content
- Be comprehensive when describing work. Make sure you don’t use any words that are deceptive or misleading
- Don’t promise or misinform. Consider leveraging words like “can” or “may” as opposed to “do” or “will” in your content when communicating the advantages of dental procedures, as treatment results cannot be guaranteed.
- Understand the ways to leverage testimonials. Be cautious of testimonials, particularly those regarding clinical aspects of dentistry. The reason? Most testimonials are personal opinions and are therefore not objective.
- Only discuss your relevant practice. Don’t discuss the psychological aspects behind dentistry, like how a particular cosmetic treatment gives a patient confidence because there are no guarantees.
Specialists and Dentists
You can’t claim to specialise in a specific area of dentistry unless you’ve completed the required training. If a general dentist wants to promote a particular treatment or service that they regularly offer, they can instead say that they have a ‘special interest’ in a particular area.
Successful Copywriting For Your Digital Platforms
However, keeping your AHPRA content reader-friendly and engaging for Google rankings while adhering to guidelines produced by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, can be challenging.
Here are some points to keep in mind.
- Prevent using trigger words. Make sure that you don’t promise or commit your dental patients to anything that you won’t be able to guarantee or fulfil. Therefore, avoid using words such as cure, pain-free, and easy.
- Be Heedful of Your CTAs (call to action). The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency doesn’t want to see unnecessary pressure on dental patients impelled by calls to action. Instead of using ‘call today’, you can use something like “we look forward to hearing from you”
- Provide warning statements. AHPRA mandates that you use applicable warning statements for specific dental treatments, especially if they are invasive and surgical. Adding a warning statement on your dental website’s service pages may be a good idea to ensure that you follow the AHPRA guidelines and create valuable AHPRA content.
It’s pretty easy for before and after images to become deceptive and confusing. However, they’re one of the viable ways to demonstrate the advantages of particular types of dental processes.
Here are some essential aspects to remember if you plan to use before and after images on your dental website:
- Don’t use stock photos
- Do have written consent from patients if using their photos
- Do add factual descriptions
- Do show warning information in case your images demonstrate specific surgical procedures
- Don’t discuss the impact on the self-esteem or confidence of the patient
Leveraging Patient Testimonials
AHPRA outlaws leveraging testimonials that are clinical in any manner for various reasons. Testimonials are in essence customer opinions and therefore can’t be substantiated with scientific data.
Here is some vital information about using testimonials as part of your Aphra-compliant content
- Don’t solicit reviews and answer wisely. Responses might be seen as an advertising resource, so be careful who you respond to and how you do it
- Don’t alter it. Testimonials must be leveraged in their entirety, and you shouldn’t even modify any misspellings.
Remember for the purpose of AHPRA. Keep your testimonials non-clinical, like, ‘I had a tremendous experience when I visited this dental centre’ or ‘This practice is welcoming and friendly.’
How Does the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency Operate?
While the purpose of AHPRA is pretty clear and straightforward, you may get an AHPRA complaint if you fail to adhere to guidelines.
The essential point is that AHPRA doesn’t stop a medical or dental practice from advertising their business, but instead, ensures that it’s done in the right way.
In fact, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. provide beneficial tools that you can use before posting anything on your social media or website. For instance, the ‘Check My Advertising‘ feature by AHPRA is a free downloadable guide that can help prevent any breaching of rules when posting new content.
The key is to be preemptive when publishing AHPRA-compliant content and to take adequate time to thoughtfully gauge the material you want to share on your website and social media. Doing so will avoid costly penalties.
To be AHPRA compliant, transparency, integrity, and authenticity are critical factors to account for when setting up your marketing campaigns. Any promotional claims about the treatment or dental procedures must be substantiated and backed up by scientific data.
Please schedule a consultation with us today to navigate the intricacies of Australian Health Practitioner Regulations. We understand the purpose of AHPRA and how abiding by it can benefit your practice.
ahpra.gov.au – Advertising Resources – Check and Correct – Self Assessment Tool