Information Collection and Use
Information We Collect
- IP Addresses- We collect and log the IP address of all visitors to Massgeneral.org. An IP address is a number automatically assigned to your computer whenever you access the Internet. IP addresses allow computers and servers to recognize and communicate with one another. We collect IP address information so that we can properly manage our system and gather information about how our site is being used. This includes the pages visitors are viewing. Your IP address may be associated with records containing personal information.
- Personal information- includes information that is unique to an individual, such as a name, address, job title, email address or telephone number.
How We Use This Information
Mass General uses the information you provide to fulfill online requests, process credit card information and respond to customer service inquiries, or in other ways as required by law.
We may use your information:
- To help us improve the services we offer
- To personalize your experience and inform you about the treatments/services in which you have indicated an interest
- To tailor digital advertisements on third-party sites based on your interactions on our site
- To improve our website offerings and send you information and updates
- To respond to your questions and requests and improve customer service
- To administer a promotion, survey or other site feature
Only those who need the information provided to perform a specific task have access to your information. These are authorized members of the Mass General workforce, who are required to attend training on patient privacy and confidentiality. In some cases, third parties contracted by Mass General may have access to your information to perform a specific task, for example, to send you an e-newsletter.
Mass General makes every reasonable effort to ensure that your personal information remains as secure as possible. Accordingly, we prevent unauthorized access by a secure firewall and use of security technologies to protect the integrity and privacy of any personal information you provide.
As an additional security measure, your personal information is also encrypted during transmission by Secure Socket Layer 128-bit encryption software. (Encryption is a common method used to protect transmission of sensitive data across the Internet.) This is an industry standard.
Although we endeavor to protect your personal information, Mass General cannot warrant the security of any information you transmit to us through online applications, and you do so at your own risk. Depending on the nature of the inquiry, your communication could be discarded or archived. If you wish, you can contact us instead by telephone at the numbers provided throughout our site.
Forms provided on Mass General’s website may include event registration, newsletter signups, appointment requests and referral requests. The information required to complete the transaction is noted on each specific form. Although we provide robust security measures to protect the transmission of information, Mass General is not responsible if unauthorized parties gain access to the confidential information shared in the online forms.
Newsletter/Press Release Subscriptions
If you subscribe to a newsletter, publication, press release or RSS feed published by Mass General hospital and distributed by email or RSS feed, we will maintain your email address in a private distribution list unless you have selected to “opt-out.” Messages sent electronically do not include recipients’ email addresses or any other personal information. Unsubscribe from Mass General email communications
Occasionally, we will request personal information from you in order to deliver materials you have requested, respond to your questions or provide information. Mass General keeps personal information on file, but does not share, sell, license or transmit this information to third parties or external vendors unless required to do so by legal, judicial or governmental proceedings, or in order to provide the services requested. Please note that email is considered a nonencrypted (and therefore nonsecure) form of communication, and it can be accessed and viewed by others without your knowledge and permission. For that reason, to protect your privacy, please do not use email to communicate information that you consider confidential.
Cookies, Tracking and Interest-based Advertising
The Mass General website uses “cookies”, tracking pixels and related technologies. Cookies are small data files that a website can transfer to your computer. Examples of information we collect include how often someone visits our site and what they do while on our site. We use this information in the aggregate to understand how our visitors as a group use different resources and to help us improve our site. We also collect information about the activity of individual website users. This information may be used to target related Mass General advertisements to you on other third-party sites. For users who have opted in to receive updates or other information from Mass General via email, these reports may contain personal information.
Most Internet browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can set your browser to refuse them or to alert you when they are being sent. You can access the information on the Mass General website without enabling cookies in your browser.
You can opt out of receiving all interest-based advertisements on the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) website: http://www.aboutads.info/choices. Please note that if you delete your cookies or upgrade your browser after having opted out, you will need to opt out again. Further, if you use multiple browsers or devices you will need to execute this opt out on each browser or device.
Third-Party Vendors/Content Providers
Mass General never shares any personal information you provide when requesting information with third parties, except as required by law or in order to provide the services requested. Mass General occasionally will engage reputable third-party vendors to help us manage our website, provide content and information, and interact better with our patients and visitors.
Some sections of the Mass General website may require login identifiers and/or passwords. You are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure that no unauthorized person has access to your password or account login information. It is your sole responsibility to control the use of login information and passwords, to authorize, monitor and control access to and use of your website account and password and to inform the website promptly of any need to deactivate a password.
Links to External Websites
Changes to This Policy
Last updated: January 2017