Get your advertising right with AHPRA’s new testimonials tool

18 May 2018

In further recognition of the importance of websites and social media promotion as major marketing tools for dentists and other health practitioners and providers, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has created a new testimonial tool to help them comply with the advertising requirements of the National Law. 

Advertising is defined under the National Law as including but not "limited to all forms of printed and electronic media that promotes a regulated health service." 

The latest addition to the resources and support materials developed by AHPRA, the testimonial tool contains information and flow charts to help health practitioners understand why testimonials are not allowed and which kinds of reviews or feedback can be used in advertising. (Read more at Further information on advertising and the National Law

While testimonials are commonly used in advertising these days to promote a wide range of services, they are prohibited for use by health practitioners under the National Law because reviews about clinical care are not considered to be a balanced source of information, with a tendency for positive reviews to be prioritised over negative ones. 

Additionally, one patient's experience is not necessarily representative of those of other patients, presenting a skewed impressed of likely outcomes. 

What is acceptable are positive reviews from patients that refer to friendly staff, plenty of parking or extended opening hours, all of which can be used in a practice's advertising efforts. 

These regulations are intended to ensure that the safety of the public is protected at all times while allowing dentists and other health practitioners to draw attention to their services. 

It is important that dentists understand their legal obligations under the National Law when it comes to advertising as non-compliance is a professional conduct issue and may lead to an individual being subjected to disciplinary action and prosecution. 

For more information on AHPRA's advertising compliance strategy, go to Advertising: Strategy, legislation and guidelines.