Disclaimer and Website Ethics
Website Ethics for Members of the Australian Orthopaedic Association
A. Information Impacting on the Doctor/Patient Relationship.
- The Website should contain only that material and information pertinent to the orthopaedic conditions that the Doctor is fully qualified to manage.
- Care should be taken to avoid, by any implication, any discrimination or bias, from a cultural, commercial or professional sense.
- If used for informed consent, the Website information content remains the responsibility of the orthopaedic surgeon and in terms of those obligations should contain all the relevant medical facts and advice, consistent with acceptable orthopaedic practice. As an example, this information should include all the reasonable alternative modes of treatment, under the headings of conservative and operative management. Each of these headings would include the relevant risks and possible outcomes in terms of benefits or complications.
B. Personal Behaviour.
- The Website should reflect the orthopaedic surgeon's given reputation involving honesty and truth. The Website information should contain no inducements or offers that would adversely impact upon general orthopaedic probity as applied to the membership of the Australian Orthopaedic Association. For example, criticism of other health care professionals, directly or indirectly, should be avoided and the tone of the Doctor's personal material should indicate care and compassion on his/her behalf.
- It would be reasonable and acceptable for the personal Website of the Orthopaedic surgeon to affirm that s/he upholds the constitution of the Australian Orthopaedic Association and accepts the medical profession's advice in terms of rules and regulations. The Website may contain comments pertinent to ongoing medical education programs.
C. Testimony to Levels of Expertise or Competence.
It would be reasonable to include peer group activities and contributions to the orthopaedic community, whether by way of publications, meetings, committee activities or other posts that may be held.
These testimonies should carefully circumscribe the surgeon's expertise as defined by his/her training, education and experience.
It may be considered unethical to use the Website information, specifically, to enlarge the perceived professional attributes, through various advertising or marketing techniques.