Are you compliant with AHPRA’s advertising regulations?

26 August 2019

In an ever-more crowded modern business landscape, it is more imperative than ever that your practice stands out from the crowd. 

Advertising is, of course, the best way to get your practice noticed by patients but as the latest communique from the Dental Board of Australia (the Board) underscores, the National Law has strict provisions about promoting regulated health services. 

These days, advertising has moved far beyond traditional print and media options, encompassing an impressive array of online and social media channels which allow far more direct contact with prospective patients. 

Regardless of which option works best for your practice, there are a number of key requirements that must be kept in mind when promoting a practice. 

 If you are advertising a regulated health service, your advertising must not: 

- be false, misleading or deceptive, or likely to be misleading or deceptive 

- offer a gift, discount or other inducement, unless the terms and conditions of the offer are also stated 

- use testimonials or purported testimonials about the service or business 

- create an unreasonable expectation of beneficial treatment, or 

- directly or indirectly encourage the indiscriminate or unnecessary use of regulated health services

AHPRA is stringent about the guidelines being followed, so it's important that you are fully and consistently compliant with the regulatory stipulations regarding advertising.  

To make things easier for you, AHPRA now provides a range of tools that allow you to check your current compliance and help you to make the changes needed to operate within its guidelines.  

One key page details AHPRA’s advertising resources which provides information on finding out about advertising legislation and guidelines, and what consumers and health practitioners need to know. 

Other useful pages include Examples common to all regulated professions, where the regulator provides exactly what the title suggests – real life case studies that you can use to gauge how compliant you are. 

The examples are quite specific, meaning you are not left guessing about what you can and cannot say, and how you can say it on websites, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, print advertisements and/or advertising on third party websites.  

A handy companion to this page is Check and correct your advertising which provides a way of firstly checking you are complaint with your obligations under the National Law and secondly making your advertising compliant if you find you are in breach in any way.  

In addition to AHPRA's requirements, you must ensure your advertising efforts comply with ACCC and TGA laws. 

If you have further questions, please contact your ADA branch.