In the Know: Health and wellness website legalities
When health consulting companies are legally responsible
One thing the Internet is notorious for is to be a source of advice on our health and wellbeing.
It doesn’t matter where we go. There is someone with a website that tells us what to do to lose weight, slow aging, or treat our diseases.
We all do it. We don’t feel well and enter our symptoms into “Dr. Google” and “voila”. Thousands of results show that we have everything from a cold to 6 months. We then bring our results to our doctor and tell him what we have.
Unfortunately, healthcare professionals, doctors, therapists, dietitians, and nutritionists struggle with misinformation every day that is posted on the Internet.
If you are a blogger and have experience with health problems, you may want to share this information with the world.
Or you are a professional with training in certain health-related topics and would like to use this information to boost your online business.
In any case, you need to be very careful to follow the rules when it comes to providing information and advice to the health and wellness website for the masses.
Legal responsibilities for providing health-related advice
So what are the legal aspects for health advice and coaching companies when they provide health-related information on a website?
There have been more than a few legal disputes in recent years that have resulted from sharing health and nutritional advice online.
In a recent complaint in North Carolina, a blogger changed his life and had experience in treating his type 1 diabetes with the Paleo diet. He blogged about his efforts and when he was successful he went one step further and started sharing his meal plans and training plans.
Finally, for a fee, he began giving one-to-one lessons to advise his readers on his experience.
In North Carolina, there is a law of misdemeanor that makes it illegal to practice dietetics or diet without a license. This blogger has been accused of violating this law and the North Carolina Board of Dietetics / Nutrition is now threatening him with prison.
Research the rules and regulations of all governing bodies
When you provide health and wellness information online, you need to make sure you follow all of the rules.
Each governing body has separate rules about what information you can and cannot tell the public about their health.
Canada and the United States both have specific federal laws, and then each province and state has its own laws.
If you want to provide information, you must search these laws for your place of residence and your place of business. And to go one step further, you have to consider the target group you are addressing.
A good guideline that you should follow when providing information on your health website is to ask yourself if you are specific to a particular personal health situation. The blogger in the North Carolina lawsuit was fine having his own personal experience with the Paleo diet.
His suggestions for training programs or the provision of his personal nutrition plans on his health and nutrition website may even have been legally correct, but as soon as he started talking to individuals individually and giving advice, he was unable to share his personal experiences and fell into the Providing medical expertise in an area for which he was not legally certified.
Remember that it is one thing to express your opinion on a health-related topic or to report on your specific experiences. However, if you claim to be an expert on anything on your health and nutrition website, you may be held accountable by the relevant bodies to regulate public education on the subject and to raise legal issues.
You must not assert yourself or pretend to be something you are not if you want to provide reliable health information.
When giving health or wellness advice, you need to be clear about your education and expertise, and also carefully consider the legal issues related to your advice.
Working with a professional web development company can help guide you in the right direction and ensure that you don’t publish anything that could cause legal problems in the running of your business. It would also be very prudent to consult a lawyer who is well versed in these matters.