advantages of using external consultants

A Word on AHPRA Guidelines for Advertising

A Word on AHPRA and the Irresistible Offer Email

I provoked some interesting debate with my email last week where I mentioned the need for health professionals to think about creating better and more compelling offers for their patients – including gifts, free sessions and other incentives.
As expected – this created the usual flood of comments from professionals saying these suggestions are in breach of AHPRA (Australian Health Professional Regulation  Agency) guidelines regarding advertising.
Before I gives some insight into my thoughts on AHPRA guidelines (don’t get me started) – I did want to make the following points.
My email list is an international database of health professionals – all operating under their countries own individual regulations and guidelines –  so I did not want to bias the email with reference to only the Australian guidelines.
That being said – I should have probably added a paragraph something like:
“Of course – all health professionals need to check with their specific advertising regulations to ensure compliance with their governing bodies”.
Now I should have said something like that – but where is the fun in that.
However – now that I have been provoked into commenting on the AHPRA regulations (and encouraged by some harshly worded replies that I should “read the guidelines”) – I draw your attention to one of these guidelines.
This guideline relates specifically to the issue of creating great offers – it states – straight from AHPRA:
“The use of gifts or discounts in advertising is inappropriate,
due to the potential for such inducements to encourage
the unnecessary use of regulated health services.”

But then it says:

“If a practitioner or a person advertising a regulated health
service does use a discount, gift or any other inducement
to attract patients or clients to a service, the offer must be
, and the terms and conditions of that offer must be
set out clearly in the advertisement.”

Seems a little vague don’t you think?

One final comment or suggestion.
The use of gifts, offers, discounts or inducements – does not necessarily have to relate to your core service – and thus may be outside of the guidelines anyway.
For example – you may decide to give free lectures as your inducement or offer, reward your current patients with gifts for referring their friends – or give away a free DVD that includes great strategies and tips to help your clients with their current issues.
There is nothing in the AHPRA guidelines that limit me giving away great information and content.
So my point is – don’t let your professional regulators (as a business owner and marketer – I cannot tell you how much I hate the word “regulator” ) scare you into doing nothing with regards your marketing.
Yes – understand the guidelines (as best you can)
Yes – comply where possible (but I always prefer to say “sorry” rather than “ask permission” – I could’nt help myself – ha ha)
But NEVER use rules and guidelines as an excuse for releasing soft and vanilla offers and promotions.
Or even worse – using these guidelines as an excuse to do no advertising at all.
I am standing by my computer waiting for the flood of comments.
Best Wishes
Paul Wright