The use of marketing strategies aimed at attracting more patients/customers by Polish doctors and medical companies is limited by the Physician's and Dentist's Profession Act, the Act on Chambers of Physicians, resolutions of the Supreme Medical Council, and the Code of Medical Ethics.
The aim of this article was to analyse strategies of promotion on the Internet utilized by medical facilities that offer procedures from the broad field of aesthetic medicine, compared with 'traditional' medical specialties.
Material and methods: We included into the present analysis 170 websites of medical facilities (clinics, consultancies, medical practices) offering services from
the field of aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology and aesthetic surgery, as well as 300 websites of medical facilities in the field of allergology, gynaecology and cardiology. The websites were searched for the occurrence of contents characteristic of marketing.
Results: Websites of 98% of the facilities for aesthetic medicine contained at least one marketing strategy prohibited by the law or codes of ethics. The most common marketing strategy was announcing trade names of products used in treatments (80-91% depending on the type of facility), announcing brand names of equipment used (70-86%), touting the alleged effectiveness of products and methods in use (54-80%) or equipment (51-78%), promising/guaranteeing the safety and lack of side-effects (24-59%), offering discounts or price packages (53-56%), advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (31-55%), guaranteeing effects of treatments (23-51%), promising effects
beyond the actual biological effect of a treatment (20-43%), and seven other, less frequent marketing techniques. Only 6% websites of allergy, gynaecology or cardiology facilities contained prohibited marketing content, in most cases touting the doctors.
Conclusions: Almost all medical facilities offering services of aesthetic medicine, but only a few facilities of 'traditional' medical specialties, use
marketing practices prohibited by the medical professional codes of ethics and the legislation in force.
Keywords: marketing, advertisement, medical services, medical aesthetology, aesthetic medicine, aesthetic dermatology, aesthetic
surgery, methods of promotion, allergology, gynecology, cardiology, Internet, legal regulations.
Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia