operated by Med Help International, including the medhelp.org
site. References to "MedHelp" mean Med Help International,
including any company that Med Help International owns or
controls. MedHelp may share information among its subsidiaries
or sites that it owns or controls, but it is always protected
The MedHelp Web site contains links to other sites. Once you
enter another Web site (whether through an advertisement,
service, or content link), be aware that MedHelp is not
responsible for the privacy practices of these other sites.
We encourage you to look for and review the privacy statements
of each and every Web site that you visit through a link or
advertisement on MedHelp.
how we manage your information.
While you may use some of the functionality of MedHelp without
registration, many of the specific tools and services on our
website require registration. If you use our Web site without
registering, the only information we collect will be Non-Personal
choose to register with our Web site for certain Interactive
Tools or other services, we require you to submit Personally
Identifiable Information. Depending on the tool or service you
have selected, we may also collect Personal Health Information.
You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the Personally
Identifiable Information and Personal Health Information you
submit to MedHelp. Inaccurate information will affect the
information you receive when using our site and tools and our
Non-Personal Information We Collect About You
Even if you do not register with MedHelp, we collect Non-Personal
Information about your use of our Web site, special promotions
We collect Non-Personal Information about your use of our Web
site and your use of the Web sites of selected sponsors and
accesses a MedHelp Web site is assigned a different Cookie by
MedHelp. Med Help cookies store tracking codes to enable our
system to locate information from past visits to the Med Help
Web Site, but do not contain information that identifies you
personally. The information collected by Cookies (i) helps us
dynamically generate advertising and content on Web pages or in
newsletters, (ii) allows us to statistically monitor how many
people are using our Web site and selected sponsors' and
advertisers' sites, (iii) how many people open our emails, and
(iv) for what purposes these actions are being taken. We may use
Cookie information to target certain advertisements to your
browser or to determine the popularity of certain content or
advertisements. Cookies are also used to facilitate a user's
log-in, as navigation aides and as session timers.
Personally-Identifiable Information We Collect About You
A. Registration Information
For security purposes, we also request that you choose a Secret Question and submit a Secret Answer during registration or at various times when you try to access features that contain sensitive Personally Identifiable Information. If you forget your password, an email with your temporary password will be sent to the email address you provided during registration. When you log in with your temporary password, you will be prompted to answer your Secret Question. If you have not provided a current and active email address or if you do not know the answer to your Secret Question, you will be locked out of your account.
B. Newsletters & Emails to You
At registration, you will automatically be signed up to receive periodic informational newsletters via email from MedHelp. These emails inform our members of new or upcoming features and partners. You can unsubscribe from the newsletters by following the instructions provided in the email.
When you participate in certain services and activities, you will have the option of signing up to receive emails from MedHelp as reminders or notifications. You can change these notification and reminder settings in the Settings section of My MedHelp or within the individual service itself (for example, Trackers).
At registration and at various times as you use MedHelp, you may be given the option of receiving recurring informational/promotional newsletters via email on specific health topics from MedHelp and/or directly from third parties. When you sign up for our email newsletters or at any time, you can choose to opt-in to receiving additional promotional emails from MedHelp or our Sponsors. In order to subscribe to MedHelp newsletters via email, we need your contact information, including email address. You can unsubscribe from the newsletters by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of any email newsletter, or you may use our Contact Us Form to request MedHelp Customer Service to manually unsubscribe you from the newsletter. In some cases, when you click on a link or an advertisement on our site, in an e-mail or newsletter, your browser may be momentarily directed to the website of a third party which, acting on behalf of MedHelp (see Disclosure to Third Party Contractor Web sites, below), notes or "counts" your response to the e-mail or newsletter before re-directing your browser to your selected destination; this re-direction process may not be apparent to you.
C. Email a Friend
If you choose to use our Invite a Friend, Email This, or Share This service to tell a friend about our site, we will ask you for your name, your email address and your friend's email address. We will automatically send your friend a one-time email inviting him or her to visit the site using your name and/or email address as the from email address. MedHelp does not use your name, your email address or your friend's email information and the information you provide using this service for any other purpose. We will only use the information you provide to send the email you request. If you choose to automatically send updates to your friends through the Share This feature, MedHelp will automatically send additional emails to the email addresses you specified when you update the page.
D. Suggestions You Make to MedHelp
E. Message Boards and other Public Forums
As a service to our users, MedHelp features journals, personal pages, message boards and other public forums where users with similar interests or medical conditions can share information and support one another or where users can post questions for experts to answer. Any information shared (including Personally Identifiable and Personal Health Information) that you reveal in a journal, personal page, message board, Ask A Doctor posting or online discussion is by design open to the public and is not a private, secure service. Some features, such as Journals, Photos, and Personal Pages allow you to set the privacy setting for each item you create. You can set the privacy setting to Private, Public, or Friends Only. Public information can be seen by everybody without limitation. Viewers do not have to be members of MedHelp in order to view this data. Friends Only information can be viewed by other MedHelp members that you have elected to add as a friend. Private information can only be seen when logged in under your user name or by MedHelp Administrators. You should think carefully before disclosing any Personally Identifiable or Personal Health Information in any public forum. What you have written may be seen, disclosed to or collected by third parties and may be used by others in ways we are unable to control or predict, including to contact you for unauthorized purposes. As with any public forum on any site, this information may also appear in third-party search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. MedHelp does not control the information indexed and cached by search engines. At your request, MedHelp can remove Personally Identifiable Information from the MedHelp site, but cannot remove this information from search engines. Once the data has been indexed by a search engine, that information cannot be retrieved, deleted or modified by MedHelp.
F. Website Registration and Interactive Tools on MedHelp
After you have registered as a member of MedHelp, you may choose to use certain MedHelp interactive content, tools and services that may ask you to voluntarily provide other types of information about yourself including Personal Health Information. Some of the tools (like calculators) do not retain your Personal Health Information, while others (like Trackers and Personal Health Records) store and display your Personal Health Information in accordance with the privacy setting you choose.
Neither MedHelp nor any of its services are designed or intended for children under the age of 13. We do not collect Personally Identifiable Information from any person we actually know is under the age of 13. A parent or guardian, however, may use My MedHelp to establish a personal health record and/or Personal Page for a minor. The parent or guardian is solely responsible for providing supervision of the minor's use of MedHelp Personal Page and PHR. The parent or guardian assumes full responsibility for ensuring that the registration information is kept secure and that the information submitted is accurate. The parent or guardian also assumes full responsibility for the interpretation and use of any information or suggestions provided through My MedHelp for the minor.
My MedHelp provides a convenient place to record and store your Personal Health Information and provides tools and services in order to help you better manage your health and the health of your family.
A. My MedHelp
Personal Health Information that you enter into one of the My MedHelp tools is used to provide you personalized and clinically relevant information on your personalized My MedHelp page and throughout the MedHelp service. My MedHelp creates a personal home page specifically for your health information.
B. Aggregate Data
MedHelp may combine any public information you provide with information from other users to create Aggregate Data to display on the MedHelp site. This information may also be disclosed to third parties. Aggregate data does not contain any information that could be used to contact you, identify you, or associate any health condition with you personally. For example, MedHelp may use information gathered to create a composite profile of all the users of a particular third party site. These third party Web sites may use this information to understand community needs and to design appropriate programs and activities on their site.
C. Interactive Tools on My MedHelp
Interactive tools within My MedHelp gather self-reported Personal Health Information. In addition, certain of these tools can store Personal Health Information coming from third party data interchange agreements between your employer, health plan, pharmacy benefits manager and other third parties that provide data interchange services. We maintain and limit the use of that information to the Opt-in permission you have provided at the time you use the tool.
We do not provide registered users with downloadable software that collects or uses any PII or PHI without and Opt-in consent.
Information Collected by Third Parties Not Acting on Behalf of MedHelp
Disclosure of Your Information
In addition to disclosures that you specifically authorize, Med Help may disclose personal information as follows: We may release Personally Identifiable or Personal Health Information to third parties: (1) to comply with valid legal requirements such as a law, regulation, search warrant, subpoena or court order; (2) in response to a physical threat to you or others, to protect property or to defend or assert legal rights, or (3) in connection with a transaction or proceeding involving the transfer of all of part of our business relating to the information, or involving the transfer of control of those assets involved in such business. In the event that we are legally compelled to disclose your Personally Identifiable or Personal Health Information to a third party, we will attempt to notify you unless doing so would violate the law or court order. In addition, we may disclose Personal Information as described below.
A. Disclosure to MedHelp Staff and Moderators
MedHelp staff and moderators sometimes have limited access to your Personally Identifiable Information in the course of providing products or services to you and other members, to troubleshoot problems or resolve complaints. Access to your Personally Identifiable Information is limited to the information reasonably necessary for the employee to perform the function needed to resolve the issue or to improve the service.
B. Disclosure to MedHelp Operations and Maintenance Contractors
MedHelp operations and maintenance contractors sometimes have limited access to your Personally Identifiable Information in the course of providing products or services to MedHelp. These contractors include vendors and suppliers that provide us with technology, services, and/or content for the operation and maintenance of our Web site. Access to your Personally Identifiable Information by these contractors is limited to the information reasonably necessary for the contractor to perform its limited function for MedHelp.
C. Disclosure to Third Party Contractor Websites
D. Disclosure to Third-Party Advertising Companies
to learn more about the information collection practices and "opt-out" procedures of third party ad networks we may use.
MedHelp also provides links to sites provided by Third Party Contractor Websites that have business arrangements with MedHelp to pay commissions based on sales of products or services generated through MedHelp. An example of this would be "Ad links" from Google on our Search pages.
E. Disclosure to or by Co-branded Channel Partners
MedHelp is a contractor and provides co-branded content and services to Channel Partner Web sites hosted and operated by companies other than MedHelp. You can only access these co-branded content and services only through the Channel Partner Web site, and usually from the health section of these other Web sites. The co-branded MedHelp pages that you may access through a Channel Partner Web site may have different registration processes and opportunities for information collection, and Personally Identifiable Information that you provide on these pages may be shared with the Channel Partners.
F. Disclosure to Linked Sites
G. Disclosure of Aggregate Information
MedHelp may provide Aggregate Information to third parties. For example, we might inform third parties regarding the number of users of our website and the activities they conduct while on our site. We might also inform a pharmaceutical company (that may or may not be an advertiser on our site) that "30% of our users live east of the Mississippi" or that "25% of our users have tried alternative medicine." Depending on the circumstances, we may or may not charge third parties for this Aggregate Information. We require parties with whom we share Aggregate Information to agree that they will not attempt to make this information personally identifiable, such as by combining it with other databases.
How MedHelp Handles Privacy and Security Internally
Here are some of the security procedures that MedHelp uses to protect your privacy:
- Requires both a personal username (log-in name) and a password in order for users to access their Personally Identifiable Information or Personal Health Information.
- Uses firewalls to protect information held in our servers.
- Limits the number of MedHelp employees who have potential access to your Personally Identifiable Information.
- Limits access to Personally Identifiable Information to authorized users. MedHelp enables you to have full control over who has access to your Personal Health Information. For example, you may decide to permit your physician or other health care professional access to the personal health information you maintain within our tools. Only the person who creates a record can grant access to other users.
Despite MedHelp's efforts to protect your Personally Identifiable Information and Personal Health Information, there is always some risk that an unauthorized third party may find a way around our security systems or that transmissions of your information over the Internet may be intercepted. If you provide your user name and password to other people or if you use a public computer that does not log you off MedHelp, your data is no longer protected. Please do not share your MedHelp credentials and always log off public computers.
There are additional security procedures that MedHelp uses to protect the privacy of information stored in the MedHelp Personal Health Records (PHR) detailed below.
MedHelp Personal Health Records (PHR)
MedHelp provides additional protection for your Personal Health Information stored in your Personal Health Record as follows:
- Utilizes Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption in transmitting Personally Identifiable Information to our servers. In order to take advantage of encryption technology, you must have an Internet browser which supports 128-bit encryption.
- Provides secure messaging within MedHelp Personal Health Records so that information related to your personal health related characteristics is sent through a secure, encrypted connection.
- Once the data resides on the MedHelp servers, the data remains encrypted.
- MedHelp employees do not have access to this data unless you specifically grant MedHelp's PHR administrators access. Access is limited only to 1 day (24 hours) and is used solely to help you troubleshoot issues. You can terminate the access to your records at any time.
- Certain features of MedHelp Personal Health Records (PHR) can be used in conjunction with other MedHelp products, and those features may share information to provide a better user experience and to improve the quality of our services. For example, MedHelp PHR could help you create a medications tracker that would allow you to check off when you take medication based on data you've input into the Medications PHR. These features will only be access your Personal Health Record information if you choose to use them.
- If you share your information with others, you can view a list of who has access to your information and you can revoke sharing privileges at any time. When you revoke someone's ability to read your health information, that party will no longer be able to read your information, but may have already seen or may retain a copy of the information.
- The use of PHRs require that the email address on file with MedHelp is active and current.
Updating Your Information and Contacting MedHelp
A. Updating Your Personally Identifiable Information
MedHelp tools that collect and store self-reported data allow you to correct, update or review information you have submitted by going back to the specific tool, logging-in and making the desired changes.
B. Removing your Personal Information
If you have a complaint or problem, please use our Customer Support Form (Contact Us.) Our customer service department will forward your complaint to the appropriate internal MedHelp department for a response or resolution.
If you do not receive adequate resolution of a privacy related problem, you may write to MedHelp's Privacy Office at:
Attn: Office of Privacy
929 Market Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94103
We will notify you within 30 days of receipt of your letter to confirm your personal identifiers have been removed.
C. Updating Your Personal Health Information in My MedHelp
Self-Reported Information - Please log-in to My MedHelp and update your information. We remove Personal Health Information only at the request of the authorized user. In order to verify that it is the authorized user requesting removal of his/her Personal Health Information, we require you to send a signed statement, including your name, address, email address and birth date, to the address below authorizing MedHelp to remove your Personal Health Information from our active databases and other readily searchable media. Upon receiving your request, your personal health identifiers stored in active databases and other readily searchable media will be removed so that you cannot be identified or associated with any Personal Health Information you previously provided. Mail your requests to:
Attn: Record Removal
929 Market Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94103
We will notify you to confirm your personal health identifiers have been removed.
Professionally Sourced Health Information - For Personal Health Information in My MedHelp, your ability to correct, update or remove previously provided Personally Identifiable or Personal Health Information only covers information within the reasonable control of MedHelp. We place certain restrictions on your ability to correct, update or remove professionally sourced health information that you have authorized to be entered into your My MedHelp. You may authorize physicians, other health care providers, health plans, hospital systems, pharmacists or laboratories (or their respective Web sites) to provide data into your My MedHelp. While you can remove this professionally sourced information from your record for the purpose of controlling the viewing or sharing of that information, MedHelp will maintain an audit log, a notice of that transaction and a copy of the information deleted.
D. Limitations on Removing or Changing Information
Upon your request, we will delete your Personally Identifiable or Personal Health Information in My MedHelp from our active databases and where feasible from our back-up media. You should be aware that it is not technologically possible to remove each and every record of the information you have provided to MedHelp from our servers.
We will not delete the posts or comments you've written in the communities or forums. Any information you provided in any message board, including the Ask-a-Doctor forums will not be deleted.
We reserve the right to modify this privacy statement at any time, so please review it frequently. If we make material changes to this policy, we will notify you here, by email, and on the What's New page.
Aggregate Information or Data:
As a website gathers individual pieces of Non-Personal Information (see definition below) from its users, it may combine similar data from many or all the users of the website into one big "batch". For example, the site may add up the total number of people in Peoria, Illinois, (but not their names) who are seeking information about weight loss and compare that to the number of people in Petaluma, California seeking the same information.
This sort of statistical information is called aggregate data because it reflects the habits and characteristics of a large group of anonymous people. Web sites may use aggregate data or share it with their business partners so that the information and services they provide best meet the needs of the users. Aggregate data also helps advertisers and sponsors on the Web know how effectively they are reaching and meeting the needs of their target audience.
Short for web browser, a browser is a software application used to locate and display web (Internet) pages. The most popular browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. In addition, most modern browsers can present multimedia information, including sound and video, though they require plug-ins for some formats.
Channel Partner Web site:
A third party Web site to whom MedHelp provides content and services for that web site's health channel.
A small data file that is stored on the hard drive of the computer you use to view a Web site. Cookies are placed by that site or by a third party with a presence on the site, such as an advertiser and are accessible only by the party or site that placed the Cookie (i.e. a Cookie placed on your computer by MedHelp isn't accessed by any other site you visit but a Cookie placed on your computer by an advertiser may be accessed by any site on which that same advertiser has a presence). Cookies can contain pieces of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). These Cookies often are used to make the site easier to use. For example, if you check a box to ask that we store your user name on your computer so that you don't have to enter it each time you visit the site, it's stored in a Cookie on your computer.
The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. This is typically done by secure computer systems.
A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a public or private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private portions of public networks. All messages entering or leaving the network pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.
Information that is not traceable back to any individual and cannot be used to identify an individual. For example, Click Stream Information is Non-Personal Information, as is information such as gender, age, city and state when not linked with other Personally Identifiable Information.
Means you are actively indicating your preference to participate in a program, email, feature, tool, or enhancement on a Web site. Typically, if you "Opt-in" you must provide certain information, usually Personally Identifiable Information, to the Web site or otherwise actively indicate your choice or preference to participate in the Web site program. For example, if you wish to use a tracker, you must select the tracker you want to add, enter in information about yourself or your condition, and select how often you wish to receive reminder notifications. Examples of opt-in emails include the watchlist and reminders to update your tracker.
Means that if you do not take some action you are indicating your preference to participate in a program, email, feature, tool or enhancement on a Web site. Typically, if you "Opt-out" you must uncheck a box next to a stated preference or otherwise take some action to indicate your preference not to participate in a program. For example, if you do not wish to receive the MedHelp Newsletter or emails notifying you that someone has invited you to be a friend, you must uncheck the corresponding box in your email notification preferences.
A secret series of characters, typically alphanumeric (meaning it consists of both letters and numbers) that enables you to access a file, computer, or program. You must enter your password before the computer or system will respond to commands. The password helps ensure that unauthorized users do not access the system. In addition, data files and programs may require a password.
Ideally, the password should be something that nobody could guess. In practice, many people choose a password that is easy to remember, such as their name or their initials. This is one reason it is relatively easy to break into many computer systems.
Personal Health Information (PHI):
When your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is combined with known health characteristics. For example, if you indicated that you have a certain disease or condition, when that information is combined with your PII, it becomes Personal Health Information.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) (also called Personal Information):
Information that can be traced back to an individual (contrast with Non-Personal Information and Aggregate Information). Examples of PII include your name, home address, telephone number, email address, and Social Security number. If other pieces of information are linked to PII, they also become PII. For example, if you use a nickname to chat online and give out your real name while chatting, your nickname becomes PII when linked with other PII.
A computer that provides services to other computers. A "web server" stores web site files and "serves" them to people who request them.
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer):
A security protocol developed by Netscape for transmitting private information via the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that's transferred over the SSL connection. Many Web sites use the protocol to obtain confidential user information, such as credit card numbers. By convention, URLs that utilize an SSL connection start with https instead of http.
A name used to gain access to a computer system or program. Usernames, and often passwords, are required in shared systems, such as the Internet. In most such systems, users can choose their own usernames and passwords. On MedHelp, as part of your registration, you will be required to provide a username in addition to your email and a password. The MedHelp username is the name that will appear on any of your public forum postings. Usernames are also required to post a reply on message boards, use certain MedHelp Tools and online services such as My MedHelp. This public nickname should not include any personally identifiable information, such as your name. NOTE:
Once you establish a username on MedHelp, you cannot change it without registering with a new account.
A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also "replicate" themselves by copying their code to other computers. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems. There are numerous virus protection programs available.
Health on The Net Foundation - MedHelp complies with the principles of the HON Code of Conduct established by the Health on the Net Foundation. To verify our compliance, click on the HON logo. Please note that the Health on The Net Foundation certification applies only to sites under the medhelp.org domain.