As the owner of a medical practice, it’s up to you to market yourself in an effective manner. The important thing to keep in mind is that marketing ethics matter. There is a code of marketing ethics that definitely does apply to your medical practice as well as your website. It’s a good idea to get acquainted with the rules in this area.
What Are the Medical Marketing Ethics That Apply to Your Practice?
The first thing you need to do is get up to speed with the medical marketing ethics that will apply to your practice. These are rules that are enforced by the Federal and state medical boards of which you are already a member.
For example, there are rules in place regarding what you can and cannot claim on your site. You can give statistics that point to your success in your chosen field. But it is very much beyond the pale for you to distort or falsify statistics in your favor.
It is equally unethical for you to make exaggerated claims on your own behalf. For example, if you are advocating a new course of treatment that has not been verified by medical experts, you run the risk of endangering the lives of your patients. If you make claims that no such risks exist, you are in serious violation of the ethics code.
What Are the Penalties for Contravening Marketing Ethics?
Failure to observe these basic rules of marketing ethics could land you in a great deal of trouble. Like for instance, suspension of you license by the state medical board. They could even forbid you to practice medicine in your state. And if the offense is especially egregious, they may ban you from practicing anywhere in the country.
It should also be pointed out that even a “lesser” offense could still land you in trouble. Even if your license is not suspended or revoked, you could be subject to fines or a reprimand from your state medical board. It’s always best to avoid making errors in ethical matters that could lead to a permanent black mark on your record.
What Are the Medical Marketing Ethics Violations You Should Avoid?
There are a number of medical marketing ethics violations that you can and should avoid. Some of them are blatantly obvious while others may seem to fall more under the heading of “borderline.” Some of the most common of these can be listed as follows:
Employing Actors to Pose as Patients of Your Practice
One of the biggest medical marketing ethics violations is using paid actors to pose as patients of your practice. While this is legal for certain other industries, such as insurance, it is a definite violation of medical industry ethics.
You cannot hire a person to pose as a patient, either to give testimonials on your website or to appear in videos on your behalf. You are allowed to hire a “paid spokesperson” who must be clearly identified as such via an included disclaimer.
Making Grandiose and Unverifiable Claims
Another clear marketing ethics violation is to make grandiose claims concerning your skills or results. If these claims cannot be backed up with clearly demonstrable facts, they are nothing more than misleading deceptions. Such claims can lead to a civil lawsuit, malpractice suit, or disciplinary action from your state medical board.
Revealing the Personal Info of Your Patients
One of the very worst things that you can do is to reveal the personal info of your patients. The aftermath of a particularly successful operation may tempt you to do so. However, without their express written consent, this is a clear marketing ethics violation that will get you in a great deal of trouble.
Using Fear as a Marketing Ploy
It’s never ethical to exploit peoples’ fears of a spreading virus or other medical condition in order to drive up traffic to your website. Making exaggerated claims of an impending medical crisis is a contemptible and legally actionable ploy that is sure to backfire.
Contact Best Edge SEO for Top Medical Practice Website Guidance
The best way to make sure that you are up to speed on all current marketing ethics matters is to have the aid and counsel of an expert in your corner. This way, you’ll always get top advice in areas where it matters the most.
Best Edge Medical Marketing is here to be your one stop shop for all matters related to the design and marketing of your medical practice website. We can help you increase your local exposure as well as your number of patients.