Skip to Content

Website Use & Terms of Service

Last updated: October 17, 2008

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a user of this site, you take on certain risks and responsibilities. You also have the right to know how we protect your privacy and ensure your confidentiality and what you should expect from us.

Our Commitment to You

Memorial Hermann is committed to protecting your privacy.

Your Role, Responsibilities, And Risks

Be an informed user of this site. Please read all our policies in full so you know how our site works and how you interact with the site. Pay special attention to your risks as a user. Web site users open themselves up to certain risks, such as data collection.

Understand how we collect data and how it is used. It is our goal to protect your personal information from misuse.
Be aware that use of this site, its services, programs, and the health information on it cannot replace, nor is it intended to serve as, a health care provider-patient relationship. You must always consult with a professional for diagnosis and treatment for specific health problems.

What You Should Expect From Us

We will strive to maintain your privacy, confidentiality, and security at all times. It is our goal to ensure your trust and confidence by providing you with as much information as we can about data collection procedures and information when needed. We will not use your information except as described in this notice. We do not sell information, and we will not share your information with anyone other than as described in this notice. We will make reasonable efforts to notify you accordingly of all data collection practices.

It is our intention to clearly inform you when your risks or privacy may change during the course of using this site. We will make reasonable attempts to tell you when our privacy policy is no longer in effect and another one is, such as when you use an integrated program that is being operated on another web site with a different privacy policy. It is our goal to make you aware when you leave our site for another.

We want you to know that this system operates on a secure server, and your personal and professional information and health-related personal information is encrypted before being transmitted. Encryption is a form of scrambling and de-scrambling that ensures that no unauthorized person can see your information.

We will separate health information content from advertising and sponsorship programs so you can distinguish between the two. We will not accept or show you health information content, advertising, sponsored programs, or services that we know to contain false or misleading information or that promote ineffective or dangerous products.

Our Security Measures

We want your personal information to remain as secure as possible; our business depends on it. We use encryption practices to help insure the integrity and privacy of the personal information and/or health-related personal information you provide to us. As an added security precaution, all personal information and/or health-related personal information is kept on servers with firewalls that meet or exceed industry standards to prevent intruders from gaining access. Although we make every reasonable effort to protect personal information and health-related personal information from loss, misuse, or alteration by third parties, you should be aware that there is always some risk involved in transmitting information via the Internet and that hackers or thieves do find ways to thwart security systems.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

It is our goal to use personal information and health-related personal information in the manner described in the privacy policy that is in effect when your information is collected. We do, however, reserve the right to change the terms of this privacy policy at any time and will post revisions to our site. If at any point, personal information or health-related information is to be used differently from those practices stated in the privacy policy in effect when your data was collected, we will modify the last updated date of this privacy policy to indicate a change in our privacy policy. You will be given the choice to opt-in to any additional uses or disclosures of your personal information.

About the Information We Collect

We understand that the Protected Health Information (PHI) you provide during your visit to our site is highly sensitive and you may have concerns about sharing such information with us. It is our goal to protect your privacy, and we strive to develop practices and policies to safeguard your personal and health-related personal information.

At different places on our site, you may be asked to volunteer your name, e-mail, address and telephone number. We refer to this type of information as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) because it can be used to identify or contact you. When this information is combined with any information on your health or medical status, we refer to this information as Protected Health Information (PHI). We often collect information on site use that has nothing to do with you as an individual, only as an anonymous user of the site. We call this information "aggregate information." We intend to use the personal information, health-related personal information, and aggregate information only for the purposes for which it was provided.

Some personal information and health-related personal information is needed to use this site, and we ask that you provide it with the knowledge that it will be used to enhance your experience. This information is kept confidential. We do offer special data collection programs that you can "opt-in" to use, in some cases to receive e-mail on health topics or to participate in a new service. For opt-in programs, we provide you, when applicable, with detailed information on:

  • Who is collecting the data
  • What data are collected
  • Why and how the data are transferred to a third party
  • How the data are being used
  • How long the data are being collected
  • Who has access to the data
  • What revenue is generated from data use in relation to advertisers and sponsors and
  • How to opt-out of data collection

Where This Information Is Collected

We collect information about you at several places throughout the site. You will be informed on how this information is collected at that time. You will also have the ability to opt-in to information collection when you enter the site or use a service. Most information is collected in the following instances:

  • Registration

    In order to have access to all of the services and content available on our site, you are required to complete a registration form that requests certain information, such as name, telephone number and e-mail address. In addition, you are asked during registration to tell us about health topics that you are interested in. We offer specialized registration for certain programs, events, and classes that may request some or all of the above information.

We may use your registration information to send you an e-mail confirming your registration with our site, to respond to questions from you, or to notify you if there is a problem with any order for goods or services that you placed. We may also, from time to time, send e-mails, with your permission, on special promotions or newsletters we think may be of interest to you.

  • Interactive Services/Tools

    Some of the interactive tools on our site ask you for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI). Specifically, our health risk assessment tools may ask for information on your personal and/or family medical history including height, weight, blood pressure, history of certain conditions and/or diseases and medication history. Our health care professional directory may ask you for information on your insurance plan and geographic location in order to identify listed professionals in your area.

Our Site Uses Cookies

In addition to collecting information that you submit to us, we also rely on "cookies." A cookie is a numeric code that a web site transfers to your hard drive for record-keeping purposes. Every computer is assigned a different cookie, but our cookie does not contain or collect your name or other personal identifying information. When you revisit our site, the cookie allows us to recognize you, your interests, and your preferences. We also use cookies to help track the level of interest in different features on our site and to compile data that can help us improve our content.

Your browser software can be set to reject all cookies, including cookies from our site. Most browsers offer instructions on how to reset the browser to reject cookies in the Help section of the toolbar. If you reject our cookie, certain functions and conveniences of the site may not work properly. You do not have to accept our cookie in order to productively use our site. If you accept our cookie, we will never link the cookie to personal information and/or health-related personal information you provide to us. We will not allow other sites or third parties to use our cookies.

How We Use Your Personal Information

We continually seek new ways to maintain your trust as a user and improve our offerings. To provide new and better services, we tend to monitor user traffic patterns and try to analyze what our users like and do not like about our current offerings so we can design better services for you. We may also use certain information for testing purposes, site development and planning, and during the normal course of maintaining the site. When you use our site, you automatically allow us to collect this information. In these cases, researchers, business analysts, system designers, and others may have access to the data we collect.

We do not intend to use or disclose any personal information or health-related personal information you provide on our site to an unrelated third party without your express permission, except as explained in this section. You should know that there are circumstances when, in the ordinary course of business, we will share some information about you with a related third party.

We may also share aggregate statistical information on our users, traffic patterns and site usage with our business partners and sponsors. There is nothing in this information that could be used to identify or contact you.

We may, from time to time, contract with vendors to provide specific services, such as data analysis, data storage, e-mail processing, customer service, sweepstakes or special promotions. We require vendors to adhere to our confidentiality standards and do not permit a vendor to use our customer information for any other purpose. In many of these instances, you will be given the opportunity to opt-in to this collection of information and can opt-out at any time.

In certain limited circumstances, we may be legally compelled to release your personal information in response to a court order, subpoena, search warrant, law or regulation. We also reserve the right to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in investigating and prosecuting users that violate our rules or engage in behavior that is harmful (or illegal) to other users.

Our Relationship with Third Parties

Where third parties such as sponsors, information providers, and health assessment software tools providers, have access to PHI from this Web site, our agreements with these third parties will follow these privacy principles in giving you notice and choice with respect to their access and use. Where we have relationships with third parties, we will adopt procedures to tell you if third parties have access to personally identifiable information about you from our site. We will take appropriate precautions to prevent inadvertent disclosures of personally identifiable information to third parties and will take immediate steps to eliminate such disclosures, if they occur, once they have come to our attention.

Additionally, we work with several types of third party vendors, including those that provide products and services that we integrate to our site, sponsors that provide us revenue through logo and link placement on our site, advertising companies that serve up advertisement programs for the site, and organizations that maintain this site. We request that third-party vendors supply us with information on their security procedures, and we evaluate them periodically to ensure that they are using data in the agreed upon way.

You should know that our relationship with some third party vendors provides us with revenues based on the number of users who view an advertisement or use a sponsored or co-branded program. These revenues are based on the use of a site and not on you as an individual.

There are three types of relationships that differ from our standard business partner relationship in which we license content or a product for integration. These exceptions are:

Sponsored or Co-branded Sites

We allow other companies to make services and/or content available to you, sometimes on a sponsored or co-branded basis. To access the services on a sponsored or co-branded site, you may have to complete an online registration form in addition to the registration you completed for us. Whenever you provide registration information on sponsored or co-branded sites, data can be collected. You should read the individual privacy policies of sponsored or co-branded sites. Reading the policies will help you make an informed decision on whether or not you want to use the site.

  • External Links
    We feature external links to other web sites that we believe you might find useful; however, we do not endorse these sites. Additionally, unless otherwise noted in this section, links to other sites are provided strictly for informational purposes, and are not based on any fees or reimbursements paid to Memorial Hermann for "clicks." We are not responsible for the privacy practices of these external sites. We will make every effort to notify you when you are leaving our site, and we encourage you to read the privacy policy of each site you visit that may collect information or ask you to disclose personal information and/or health-related personal information.
  • Framed Links
    In some cases, this Web site will "frame" another Web site within this site's navigation. When this is done, you will be notified that you are accessing another site within this site, and that the framed site carries a different set of policies, prior to accessing it.

    We have agreements with the following organizations to frame their content within our site:
    • KidsHealth

The use of all other framed sites is not based on any fees or reimbursements paid to Memorial Hermann. In the case of KidsHealth, Memorial Hermann pays a fee for their content and/or services. For all other framed sites, there is no financial relationship based on these links.

Our Children's Policy

Children under the age of 13 are not allowed to register on our site, or to access areas that require registration. We have established a mechanism in the registration process that does not allow children under 13 to complete the registration process. If we learn that we have inadvertently collected information from an individual under the age of 13, that information will be immediately and permanently removed from our servers.

Your Privacy Choices

You have the choice on this site to opt-in to information collected about you in most circumstances, the exceptions being the instances when data are used for site maintenance and other functions to improve the site. If you opt-in to data collection we make every effort to give you detailed information on the program or service you select. To opt-out of data collection, make any changes or updates, or request that information be deleted, you have several choices.

Opt-out

When you register with our site, you are given the option of receiving e-mail with information that we think you might find useful including promotions, announcements of new services and products, and newsletters on particular health topics. You may also participate in our personalized e-mail reminder system that allows you to send an e-mail reminding you of certain health-related activities such as a doctor's visit or to schedule tests. If you decide, at any time, that you no longer wish to receive these e-mails you may opt-out by deselecting the checkbox on your personal information page.

Change/Update Personal Information

You may change or update your personal information and/or health-related personal information at any time by contacting us in writing using the address in our Contact Us link.

Remove or Delete Personal Information

You may remove previously provided personal and/or health-related personal information at any time by contacting us in writing using the address in our Contact Us link.

Users should be aware that it is not always technically possible to remove or delete the information you provide to us. We back-up our systems to protect information from inadvertent loss, and that means a copy of your personal information may exist in a non-erasable form that may be difficult or impossible for us to locate. Nevertheless, upon receiving your request we will try to remove or delete all personal information and/or health-related personal information stored in the databases that we use for research and daily business activities within 30 days. We will not intentionally disclose any personal information stored in a non-erasable format after receiving your request for removal, except as required by law.

Relationship to Advertising/Sponsorship Policy

The principles and practices outlined in our Advertising/Sponsorship Policy will be continued and enhanced by the ongoing application of this Privacy Policy. For example, we will not permit any sales or marketing of personally identifiable health information to third party sponsors that would reveal to them personally identifiable medical conditions. We will provide the names and addresses of an individual user to sponsors or other third parties only when you indicate that you desire to review additional information from the third party and understand that your name and address information will be transmitted.

Questions or Comments

We are committed to continuously improving the quality of the health information and tools found on this Web site. If you have any questions or comments regarding this Privacy Policy or the health information found on this web site in general, please contact us at webmaster@memorialhermann.org.