Privacy Policy

Privacy policy

By Mayo Clinic staff

Updated August 10, 2012

The Social Media Health Network (“The Network”), a service of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media, is committed to protecting your online privacy. We feel it is important for you to know how we handle the information we receive from you via the Internet. You can visit The Network without revealing any personal information. However, you are required to provide an email address or social networking site authentication to comment on posts or to subscribe to a newsletter.

How we and our affiliates collect and use personal information

The Network may contain links to websites operated by third parties. The Network has no control over the privacy policies and practices of such third party sites, and if you have any concerns, you are urged to review the terms of those sites for more information about the policies applicable to those sites.

IP addresses

We collect and log the Internet Protocol address (IP) of all visitors to The Network. 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 administer our system and gather aggregate information about how our site is being used, including the pages visitors are viewing. To maintain your anonymity, we do not associate IP addresses with records containing personal information. We will use IP address information, however, to personally identify you in order to enforce our legal rights or when required to do so by law enforcement authorities.

Newsletters

We require you to provide an email address to subscribe to a newsletter. If you subscribe, we may also use this email address to send you communications about other Mayo Clinic products and services. We may also share this email address with our third party email management vendor for purposes of delivering the newsletter to you; however, we do not share your email address with groups outside of Mayo Clinic for any marketing purposes.

How we use cookies

"Cookies" are small pieces of information that some websites store on your computer's hard drive when you visit them. Like many other websites, The Network uses cookies to provide us with information relating to the sources of our site traffic. Collecting this information, however, does not allow us to personally identify you.

Most Web browsers automatically accept cookies but allow you to modify security settings so that you can approve or reject cookies on a case-by-case basis. Our site requires that both cookies and JavaScript be enabled. If you reject cookies from our site, some parts of the site may not work properly for you.

Surveys

You may be asked to complete surveys when you visit The Network. We use information from surveys to better understand the needs of our users and to gather information about health care trends and issues. We generally do not ask for information in surveys that would personally identify you; if we do request contact information for follow-up, you may decline to provide it. If survey respondents provide personal information (such as an email address) in a survey, it is shared only with those people who need to see it to respond to the question or request, or with third parties who perform data management services for our site. Those third parties have agreed to keep all data from surveys confidential. Also, we may share information from surveys in an aggregated, de-identified form with third parties with whom we have a business relationship.

How we protect your personal information

All data that you enter on this site for financial transactions, such as registration for conferences or webinars, are encrypted with secure server software (SSL). The encryption means that your data are protected while they are being transferred over the Internet to our servers.

Once your data reach our servers, the same state-of-the art security software that guards our company's essential business data protects your data as well.

In addition to using the most secure technology available, we de-identify all data before they are used in any aggregate reporting that may be done.

What we provide to third parties

We may share your personally identifiable information with third parties who we have engaged to help us provide the services. In each case, we will ensure that these third parties have agreed not to use or disclose your personal information except to help us provide the services.

Except as noted above for newsletters and surveys, The Network does not provide any third party access to your IP address and email address.

We may provide third parties with aggregate statistics about our visitors, traffic patterns and related site information. These data reflect site-usage patterns gathered during visits to our website each month, but they do not contain behavioral or identifying information about any individual member unless that member has given us permission to share that information.

Children's privacy

This site is intended for adults age 18 and older. It is not intended for or designed to attract people under the age of 18. We do not collect personally identifiable information from any person we actually know to be under the age of 18.

E-mail communications, newsletter and related services

The Network provides you with the opportunity to receive communications from us or third parties. You can sign up for free email newsletters and activity digests. You can unsubscribe from these at any time.

Email communication that you send to us via the email links on our site may be shared with a customer service representative, employee, medical expert or agent that is most able to address your inquiry. We make every effort to respond in a timely fashion once communications are received. Once we have responded to your communication, it is discarded or archived, depending on the nature of the inquiry.

The email functionality on our site does not provide a completely secure and confidential means of communication. It's possible that your e-mail communication may be accessed or viewed by another Internet user while in transit to us. If you wish to keep your communication private, do not use our email.

You may decide at some point that you no longer wish to receive communications from our site. To stop receiving communications, send an email message to socialmediacenter@mayo.edu or send regular mail to the following postal address:

Security and Privacy Officer

Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media


200 First St. SW


Rochester, MN 55905

Complaint process

If you have a complaint or problem, or if you believe your privacy rights have been violated, you may email us by clicking the "Contact us" link at the bottom of any page. Our Customer Service department will forward your complaint to the appropriate Network staff response or resolution. If you don't receive adequate resolution of a privacy-related problem, you may write to The Network’s security and privacy officer at:

Security and Privacy Officer


Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media

200 First St. SW


Rochester, MN 55905

If you've contacted The Network about a privacy-related concern and you do not believe your problem has been addressed, you may file a complaint with the Mayo Clinic chief security officer by calling the Mayo Clinic general number at 507-284-2511 and asking for the chief security officer.

Changes to our Privacy policy

We will occasionally update this privacy policy. You will see the word "updated" followed by the date next to the privacy policy link near the bottom of all pages on the site. If the "updated" date has changed since you last visited, you're encouraged to review the policy to be informed of how this site is protecting your information.