The rules and regulations of Advertising and marketing can have varying effects on Osteopathic practitioners. An example of this is trademarking, logos and names can be patented by companies or individuals, this is to prevent other companies sharing similarities in their aesthetic, individuality and reputation. If a company has patented their name or their logo and an osteopath is found to be using one of them then they could be sued by the company.
Another set of regulations effecting advertisement in the UK, are the Consumer protection from unfair trading regulations, which state you cannot mislead or harass consumers this would involve including false or deceiving information or leaving out important information on said advertisement. An example of this would be the cost one treatment session, which should remain consistent on every advert and not change for any one individual. If pricing were to change this could cause anger, mistrust and the feeling that the patient has been taken advantage of as well as legal action. Osteopaths may also advertise that they can ‘cure’ a specific injury or problem or give a patient a specific time frame that their treatment will end by, but this often isn’t the case as different people respond to different treatments. This would be giving a patient false expectation causing disappointment and lead to them spending more money than they wanted to.
Osteopaths may also be affected by the rules and regulations of direct marketing i.e. phone calls, texts or emails. Patients and potential patients must have given permission to be contacted with offers and promotions and also given the option to object to receiving direct marketing. This marketing must include; who you are, that you are selling a product or service and any conditions attached to the selling of the product must be made clear. Some Osteopaths may also fall into the category of harassment with the overuse of direct marketing considered to be an aggressive sales technique.
An osteopath’s social media activity might affect their professional success. If an osteopath decided to use social media as a platform for advertising and marketing and they were to link their personal account with their professional page, then this would allow the public to access their private account and potentially view their private information which might be sensitive to some people, If an osteopath was to connect with a patient on social media using their personal account this would be crossing the boundaries between patient and professional and be deemed inappropriate. Consent and confidentiality is very important when posting a picture of a patient or sharing information about a patient on social media as it can cause the patient psychological harm and damage the company’s reputation following an angry patient. If one was to break these rules and regulations the penalty would include being reported to the local trading standards office and potentially being fined, prosecuted or imprisoned.