The smallest state, Rhode Island also appears to have one of the smallest statutes regarding healthcare PR and marketing. Its key idea: strongly discourage physicians from advertising that deceives the public. Before moving forward with your marketing plans, be sure to consult with your legal counsel to understand how all relevant laws affect you.
Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure & Discipline
Gen.Laws 1956, § 5-37-5.1(2)
Unprofessional conduct. – The term “unprofessional conduct” as used in this chapter includes, but is not limited to, the following items or any combination of these items and may be further defined by regulations established by the board with the prior approval of the director: (…)
- (2) All advertising of medical business, which is intended or has a tendency to deceive the public
Sample Best Practices
We’ve developed some sample best practices to help you get started discussing your medical marketing with your legal counsel in more detail. Find out if you need to take steps to avoid the following:
- Advertising in a way that is intended to or has a tendency to deceive the public.
- Making scientific claims that cannot be substantiated.
- Assuring a permanent cure for an incurable disease.
- Claiming professional superiority without supporting the claim with objective evidence, or using hyperbole when describing your techniques or results.
- Showing patient before and after photos without indicating that results vary and the results shown are not a guarantee.
- Showing models without clearly indicating that the photos are not of actual patients.
- Saying you are board-certified without including in any advertising the name of the board that has certified you.
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