An audit of implant practice websites: content and regulatory compliance

Raimundo, H and Robinson, Peter K (2014) An audit of implant practice websites: content and regulatory compliance. British Dental Journal, 217 (12). pp. 673-677.

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Aims and objectives To audit the content of dental practice websites offering dental implant services against a framework based on the GDC 2012 Guidelines for Ethical Advertising and other relevant advertising standards.

Methods An audit framework was constructed and applied to the top fifty websites resulting from a Google UK search using the search term 'dental implant specialist'.

Results Compliance with many elements of the GDC Guidance remains poor. Sixty-eight percent of websites claimed that the practitioner providing the service was a GDC registered specialist, though examples were found where this claim was unfounded. Fourteen percent of practice websites claimed that the service was being carried out by an 'implant specialist' and 16% claimed the practitioner was an 'implantologist'; the majority of sites using these terms (10%) involved practitioners that had no specialist status. The display of potentially misleading memberships and fellowships of a range of dental associations, academies, societies and foundations remains common (52%), as does the adoption of the title 'Dr' (60%).

Conclusion Comparison with earlier studies indicates that compliance with recent GDC standards is generally improving, though whether the pace of improvement is seen as acceptable or not is something that policymakers and regulatory authorities may need to consider further.

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