When Health Consulting Businesses are Legally Responsible
One thing the internet is infamous for is being a source of advice for our health and well-being.
It doesn't matter where we turn there is someone with a website telling us what to do to lose weight, slow down ageing or treat our illnesses.
We all do it. We aren't feeling well so we type our symptoms into "Dr. Google" and voila, thousands of results telling us we have everything from a common cold to 6 months to live. We then take our results in hand to our doctor and tell him what we have.
Sadly, professionals in the health care industry, doctors, therapists, dieticians and nutritionists all have an everyday fight with misinformation that is provided on the internet.
If you are a blogger and have some experience with health-related issues, you may want to share this information with the world.
Or, you may be a professional with some education on certain health-related subjects and want to use that information to boost your business online.
Either way, you have to be very careful to follow the rules when it comes to providing health and wellness website information and advice to the masses.
Legal Responsibilities for Providing Health-Related Advice
So what are the legal issues for health consulting and coaching businesses when providing health-related information on a website?
There have been more than a few lawsuits in past years that have stemmed from sharing of health and diet advice with others on the internet.
In a recent lawsuit in North Carolina, a blogger changed his life and had experience with managing his Type 1 diabetes through use of the Paleo diet. He blogged about his efforts and when successful, he took his blogging a step further and began to share his meal plans and exercise regimens.
Eventually, he began providing one on one sessions to advise his readers in the ways of his experience for a fee.
In North Carolina, there is a misdemeanor law that makes it unlawful to practice dietetics or nutrition without a license. This blogger was charged with breaking this law and North Carolina Board of Dietetics / Nutrition is now threatening him with prison.
Research All Governing Bodies' Rules & Regulations
When providing health and wellness information online, you must ensure you are following all the rules.
Each governing body has separate rules on what information you can and cannot advise the public with regarding their health.
Canada and the United States both have specific federal laws and then each province and state also have their own separate laws.
If you are going to provide information, then you must look up those laws according to where you live and where you are doing business from. And to take it even a step further, you then you have to consider the audience you are targeting.
A good guideline to follow if you are providing information on your health-related website is to ask yourself, are you being specific to …