MedChi believes that education and training matter. However, the fact remains that patient confusion over who is a medical doctor remains high. MedChi's Truth in Advertising campaign attempts to address this confusion by increasing clarity and transparency for patients.
Patients are confused about the differences in various types of health care providers. Often, patients mistakenly believe they are seeing medical doctors when they are not. Additionally, patients are not confident about the truth of health advertisements and confusing and misleading ads undermine the reliability of our healthcare system.
All healthcare professionals – physicians and non-physicians – should be required to accurately and clearly disclose their training and qualifications to patients. This can be easily accomplished by enacting legislation with two main provisions. First, the healthcare practitioner should wear a name tag during all patient encounters that clearly identifies the type of license held by that practitioner. Second, the healthcare practitioner must display in his or her office a writing that clearly identifies the type of license held by the healthcare practitioner.
Some non-physician healthcare providers may believe the use of the term “doctor” gives them a leg up in attracting patients. However, 91% of survey respondents believe that only licensed medical doctors should be able to use the title “physician.” At the same time, the use of the term “doctor” may be appropriate if accurately disclosed (e.g. doctor of podiatric medicine, doctor of optometry, etc.)
What You Should Do:
Call/Write/Email members of the Senate EHE Committee and House Health Government Operations Committee and ask them to sponsor and support Truth in Advertising legislation.
*The Maryland Truth in Advertising campaign is generously supported by a grant from the AMA Scope of Practice Partnership.*