We’ve  all seen  the ads and commercials that spotlight a physician as ” New York’s Top Bariatric Surgeon” or ” among the most highly qualified Neurosurgeon of the south” but recently the Texas Medical Board has set numerous new standards specifically in the advertising field. How do you prove that you are “among the best”  or ” top Surgeon”? Well,  TMB prohibits the use of these slogans unless the physician has objective data to support the comparison of his qualifications to the others in his/her specialty.

The board also states that ” Any statement made about the physician’s professional experience, competence or quality should only be made if it can be supported by facts and any advertising that is “in any way false, deceptive or misleading” is prohibited.

What prompted TMB to roll out these new standards? Would it be the highly publicized medical cases in the media where those doctors portrayed themselves as the best only to be prosecuted for negligence? Or would it be the true need of accountability when marketing a brand new Neurosurgeon vs well recognized/awarded Neurosuergon and both using “best of” advertising?

What does this mean for physician’s whom have spent thousands to market themselves as the best or most qualified but have no data to support those statements?  Well, they’ll have to stop.

But, alas, there are sources of data.  Physicians just need to know where to look.  A few easy ones – any awards – no matter how hokey can be used.

  • Voted D Magazine’s Best Doctors 2011  (local publications)
  • Voted Texas Monthly’s Super Doctor 2011 (regional publications)

For groups with the exclusive at a hospital, ask for patient satisfaction and physician satisfaction surveys.  You can absolutely quote this.  For example, Ranked 99th percentile for patient satisfaction from Press Ganey Survey at Medical Center Hospital.

Physicians can also do their own surveys of their patients.  Set it up honestly and be sure it’s objective, but then use it!  99% satisfaction from patients.

In addition, many training programs and hospitals will have some kind of accolades, so brag about where you trained or where you worked.  Trained at Teaching Residency, the #1 ranked residency training program in the nation.  Practices at Well Hospital, a Top 100 Hospital.

Basically, the new rule just means we have to work a little harder to brag about ourselves.  But that’s okay, these false advertising laws have always been in place.  Kudos, to the TMB for further enforcing it.  Now, the “real” best doctors can shine!