Advertising – What Can I Post on Our Office Website?

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MICA Hot Topics in Risk Management

Q:  We are revamping our web page and our marketing materials. Can you offer any guidance on this topic?

A:  The American Medical Association (2018) states “There are no restrictions on advertising by physicians except those that can be specifically justified to protect the public from deceptive practices.” When reviewing physician advertising guidelines set by medical boards, those typically found refer to various aspects of unprofessional behavior or unethical actions that could possibly get a physician advertiser in hot water. Areas of concern really speak to ensuring transparency as to the credentials of the physician and truthfulness as to the expected outcomes from receiving offered services. Similarly, if a patient has an adverse outcome from a procedure or treatment advertised on your website, your credentials and actual experience in performing the procedure or treatment will be closely scrutinized and compared to any statements contained in your advertising.

Some tips:

  • Ensure your content is truthful and free from exaggerated claims that could lead to a false or deceptive interpretation.
  • Write content for your website or advertising brochure from the reading standpoint of a non-medical person – free from medical jargon.
  • To avoid the appearance of sponsoring a company, ensure you are marketing the physician or physicians and not the products that may be used.
  • If you hold any credentials such as certifications or specialist training, ensure that those credentials are nationally recognized and current.
  • If your patients are offering testimonials about the care they received from you, obtain written permission from them before posting and let them know exactly how and where their words may be used in the advertising.
  • Review the content of your website and marketing materials with your legal counsel or state medical society if you have any doubts.
  • Use caution when mailing or emailing your marketing materials to ensure privacy.

MICA knows that a strong focus on Risk Management can help your practice reduce the chance of a claim or lawsuit. That’s why we offer a full suite of products and services to our members.

Each group that MICA insures is unique, with individualized risk management needs based on specialty and practice characteristics.

To learn more about the benefits of MICA membership or to get a quote, contact Sarah Storms at 602.808.2135 or sstorms@mica-insurance.com.

American Medical Association. (2018). Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 9.6.1. Retrieved from: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/advertising-publicity

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