The AMA Truth in Advertising Campaign is designed to ensure health care providers clearly and honestly state their level of training, education and licensing. Patients deserve to have this information when in face-to-face encounters as well as when they read health care providers’ advertising, marketing and other communications materials.
Patients are confused about the qualifications of different health care professionals. Many non-physicians earn advanced degrees, and many of those degree programs now confer the title “doctor.” As a result, patients often mistakenly believe they are meeting with physicians (medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine) when they are not.
To ensure patients know which “doctor” is providing their care, truth in advertising legislation:
- Requires all health care professionals to clearly and accurately identify themselves in all writings, advertisements and other communications.
- Requires all health care professionals to wear, during patient encounters, a name tag that clearly identifies the type of license they hold.
- Prohibits advertisements or websites advertising health care services from including deceptive or misleading information.
Use truth in advertising tools and resources to enact truth in adverting legislation and ensure that patients can rely on what their health care providers tell them. These resources include model legislation, talking points and a nationwide patient survey highlighting patient confusion about who’s a “doctor.”
Kimberly (Kim) Horvath, senior legislative attorney