The Dental Council has received complaints and concerns about practitioner advertising on Google search pages.
Issues arise concerning complex cross-channel digital marketing, involving meta-tags and algorithms which can be difficult to navigate and understand.
Practitioners who advertise using digital properties tend to rely on technical experts, who in turn do not always understand dentistry language and the significance of scopes of practice, and accurate dental terms and descriptors. However, while this might assist understanding how an advertising issue can arise in the first place, it is not an excuse for the advertising practitioner, who remains responsible for their own advertising at all times.
The Dental Council advertising practice standard provides:
3.7 Authorising the Content of Advertising
(a) Practitioners are responsible for the form and content of the advertising of health-related services and products associated with their practice. Practitioners must not delegate this responsibility.
(b) Practitioners must ensure the accuracy of advertising their health-related services and products and must ensure compliance with this practice standard. The Dental Council will apply the doctrine of vicarious liability.
When using digital marketing avenues to advertise your services, and employing the technical expertise of others, practitioners are reminded they are still responsible for the form and content of their advertising. Therefore, practitioners are obliged to take care to understand what their ‘expert’ is doing on their behalf, and that it does not result in misleading advertising.
You should presume all information placed online to advertise your practice will be there permanently, even if you delete it. Therefore, before placing any advertisement of your services online (for example, your practice website; GoogleAd; LinkedIn; Google or Bing search listings, etc.), you must take care to ensure the advertised information is accurate and not misleading.