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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Last updated: November 13, 2003

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. This site and HEALTHvision have partnered together to create this web site. This site and HEALTHvision are responsible for the editorial content, products and services offered on this site and HEALTHvision maintains the site on our behalf.

Our Commitment to You

HEALTHvision is extremely committed to protecting your privacy. is a founding member of Hi-Ethics (Health Internet Ethics), a coalition of health information Web sites that has developed Ethical Principles for offering Internet health services to consumers. The Principles are designed to help ensure that Internet health services reflect high quality and ethical standards, provide health information that is trustworthy and up-to-date, clearly identify online advertising, disclose sponsorships or other financial relationships, keep personally identifiable information private and secure, and empower consumers to distinguish online health services that follow the Principles from those that do not. HEALTHvision strives to ensure that the operation of this Web site complies with the Principles, including those related to privacy as further described below.

Your role, responsibilities, and risks

  • You need to 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. We do, however, offer programs that collect data for special reasons, such as research, scientific studies, and statistics, in which case you may be interested in participating.
  • 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 sell or share any information you provide, nor will we intentionally use your data without your permission, unless for purposes of maintaining the site or for reviewing the site's use.
  • We will make every effort 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 every attempt 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 it is 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.
  • Where health professionals may interact with consumers, we will make every effort to tell you if this establishes a patient-provider relationship and make available the credentials and qualifications of professionals.
  • 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 are 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 colleted, we will notify you. 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 thatthe Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Personally Indentifiable Health Information (PIHI) 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 asPersonally 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 Personally Identifiable Health Information (PIHI). 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 that is generated from data use in relation to advertisers and sponsors; and
  • How to opt-out of data collection.

Please note that HEALTHvision does not actually collect any personally identifiable health information (PIHI). Any of this information you voluntarily provide to us is collected only by WellMed, a third party content provider, and their use of personally identifiable information is governed by WellMed's Privacy Policy.

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 colleted 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 Personally Indentifiable Health Information (PIHI). 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. The health risk assessment tools use the personal health information you provide to generate a personal health record to help you manage your health. Your personal health record is kept strictly confidential and can only be accessed by using your password and login ID. We will make every effort not to use or disclose your personal health record to any one without your express consent. In some cases, you can permit your physician, pharmacist or other health care-related professional to have access to your personal health record.

WellMed, Inc. is contracted to provide the health risk assessment tools on this site. When you select to use a tool, you will in fact be working on WellMed's site and it will collect your data and return the results directly to you via our servers. In all instances where a WellMed tool is used, you will have access to WellMed's privacy policy and information on how the tool works and when it was last evaluated.

• Chat Rooms/Bulletin Boards

As a service to our users, we may feature chat rooms/bulletin boards where users with similar medical conditions can share information and support one another. In addition, we may also offer online discussions on a variety of topics moderated by medical experts. You should be aware that any information shared in a chat room/bulletin board is public information and you should think carefully before disclosing any personal and/or health-related personal information in any chat room/bulletin board.

• Online Shopping

When this service is offered on this site and you purchase nonprescription products and services from us, such as ordering flowers for delivery to a local hospital, we will request that you provide your name, e-mail address, credit card number and expiration date, phone number and billing and shipping addresses.

If you order prescription drugs or medical equipment, we will ask for all of the information above, as well as the information that you would ordinarily provide to your pharmacist, including your prescribing doctor's name, your residential address, your gender and birth date, any drug allergies and existing medical conditions. If applicable, we will also ask for your health insurance information including the name, address and telephone number of your insurer and your member identification number (which may be your social security number). We may also ask for additional information about your current prescriptions and medical history. This information will help us provide you with the necessary information to make the safest and most effective use of your prescription medication or equipment.

This information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We will make every effort to maintain the privacy and security of this information at all times.

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 have relationships with different vendors and suppliers that ship products ordered on our site directly to our customers. In these cases, we provide to the vendor the information necessary to fulfill your order, such as the items ordered, your name, and shipping address. We require these partners to adhere to our privacy policy and have discussed with them that they are not to use our customer information for any other purpose.
  • If you have insurance coverage for your prescriptions, your insurance company or prescription benefit manager may have access to information about your orders so they can process your benefits or assist you with your prescription orders, if necessary. This information is shared in accordance with the terms of your health plan and the information remains confidential.
  • We may also share aggregate statistical information on our users, sales, 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 ask 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.
  • We may share registration data with business partners that maintain a co-branded service or content, only with your affirmative consent. For more information on co-branded sites, read the information below on our relationships with third parties.
  • 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. In the event that we are compelled to disclose personal information and/or health-related personal information to a third party, we will notify you unless doing so would violate the law or court order. 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 health-related personally identifiable information 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.

At present, there is only one third party, health assessment software tool on this Web site. My HealthQuotient™ by WellMed is a personally identifiable health information self-assessment software tool that appears on the Site as part of the "MyHealth" section. As described on the WellMed Web site, the tool "Assesses your overall health status, identifies risks and delivers personalized information and recommendations relevant to your specific needs." The personally identifiable information that you input into the tool will not be disclosed to any third party by WellMed or VHA. Again, please note that VHA does not collect any personally identifiable health information. Any of this information you voluntarily provide to us is collected by WellMed, and their use of personally identifiable information is governed by WellMed's Privacy Policy. Also, if you elect to "opt-in" to receive email communications from VHA, please understand that these communications are coming from WellMed on our behalf.

If you wish to have your personally identifiable health information removed from the WellMed database, you may do so by submitting a written request to WellMed. WellMed will remove personal information only at the request of an authorized user of their products. In order to verify that it is the authorized user requesting removal of their personal information, WellMed requires you to send a signed statement, including your name, address, email address and birth date, to the address below authorizing WellMed to remove your personal information from their active databases and other readily searchable media.

WellMed, Inc.
Attn: Record Removal
520 NW Davis St.
Suite 300
Portland, OR 97209

WellMed will notify you by email after your personal information has been removed.

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 provide 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. In some cases we also receive revenue from the use of external services, such as buying flowers online or other such services, and may get a commission on specific purchases made online. In addition, we may allow third-party vendors to buy aggregate data collected on our site but that data cannot be used to identify you.

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.

• Advertising Servers

We may have relationships with third-party advertising servers to display advertisements on our site. If you click on an advertisement while on our site you will be taken to another site where your risk and privacy change. These third party ad servers may use cookies to collect non-personal information on your preferences and interests via the advertisement you decide to view. We do not give them access to non-personal information that we might collect on our site unless they agree not to use that information in combination with information they already possess to identify our users. We do not intentionally share with third party ad servers any personal or health-related personal information that you share with us.

You should know that we might allow advertising to be coordinated with health information content on our site. This happens through linking up identification codes with an ad and a health topic. In no way is your use of this site and the health information you view directly connected with advertising.

• 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 HEALTHvision 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:

· WellMed
· GeoAccess
· Veritas Medicine
· Medline from the National Library of Medicine
· Consumer Product Safety Commission
· Food and Drug Administration
· USDA Food and Safety Inspection Service
· National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Veritas Medicine pays a fee to HEALTHvision, based on clicks generated to their site from this site. The use of all other framed sites is not based on any fees or reimbursements paid to HEALTHvision. In the case of WellMed, HEALTHvision 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 so on. 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.


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 using the following options:

  • Go to your personal information page and change the information there.
  • You can contact 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 using the following options:
  • You can contact us in writing using the address in our Contact Us link
  • To delete information from the Wellmed database, please follow the instructions outlined on this page under the header, "Our Relationship with Third Parties."

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. 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.

There are certain restrictions on your ability to correct, update or remove the health information you enter into a personal health record. If your doctor or other health care professional has access to your personal health record, and they add information to that record, your personal record could be considered an official medical record for legal purposes. In this case, information cannot be deleted or removed, only updated or annotated.

• 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, or write us at: HEALTHvision, Health Information Product Manager, 6330 Commerce Drive, Irving, Texas 75063.

110 Free Street | Portland, Maine 04101 | (207) 661-7001