“Protected health information” as defined under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act and related regulations (collectively referred to as “HIPAA”), including information you provide to a Mass General facility while being treated as a patient of that facility or within the Patient Gateway portal, is separate and subject to the Mass General Brigham Notice of Privacy Practices.
(NOTE: Opt-out options are discussed in the sections entitled “Cookies, Tracking and Internet-based Advertising” and “Newsletter/ Press Release Subscriptions”.)
Information That We Collect
You may use our Website without providing any personal information. When you reply to any of our communications with a request, we may need to collect additional information. For example, you may be asked to provide personal information, such as name, email address, and demographic information, if you choose to complete any of the online forms used for email or print subscription sign-up or to provide feedback.
Mass General is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal information you provide to us via this Website so that we can make sure it remains as secure as possible. Accordingly, we use reasonable efforts to prevent unauthorized access. We use a secure firewall and a security infrastructure that protects the integrity and privacy of personal information submitted to us via this Website. As an additional security measure, your personal information is also encrypted during transmission using appropriate technology including Transport Layer Security. This is an industry standard. (Encryption is a common method used to protect transmission of sensitive data across the Internet.)
Although we work hard to protect your personal information, Mass General cannot guarantee 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 617-726-2206.
Publication and Newsletter Subscription
If you wish to subscribe to our print publication or e-newsletter, we collect and store first and last names, email address, and information about how you engage with our content. We may also ask for additional information to send you content that is relevant to your interests. This information is used for distribution purposes. If you would like to unsubscribe from our email newsletters, please use the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of every e-mail communication or you can visit our subscription preferences center or click the “unsubscribe” or “manage your email preferences” link in the email you have received.
Cookies, Tracking and Internet-based Advertising
This Website works with third-party products or services (“Service Providers”). These include Google, Facebook, and other Service Providers who help us track and analyze visitor activity on the Website, measure the effectiveness of our advertising efforts, and support the optimization of our digital marketing campaigns.
The Website uses “cookies,” tracking pixels and related technologies. These can be set by Mass General or by our Service Providers.
Cookies are small data files that online services can store on, and retrieve from, a user’s computer or mobile device through the user’s web browser. The information is stored and retrievable either for the duration of a website visit (known as “session cookies”), or until some later point in time set by the website setting the cookie (known as “persistent cookies”).
Examples of information we and our Service Providers collect include how often someone visits this Website and what they do while on the Website. We and our Service Providers use this information in the aggregate to understand how our visitors as a group use different resources and to help us improve our Website. We and our Service Providers also collect information about the activity of individual Website users. This information may be used to direct related Mass General advertisements and/or informational content to Website users when they visit other websites.
Most internet browsers accept cookies by default, but you can modify your browser preferences to block or restrict cookies if you do not want your web browsing activity tracked. There are a variety of tools publicly available to manage cookies and similar technologies that collect information related to your use of the Website. Learn more from (i) the FTC or (ii) the Digital Advertising Alliance opt-out page, which allows users to opt out from receiving interest-based advertising.
We are not responsible for the effectiveness or compliance of third party opt-out mechanisms or programs. 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 opt out on each browser or device. You can access the information on this Website without enabling cookies in your browser, but disabling cookies may result in a diminished ability to take advantage of the services and related informational content on the Website.
We use web analytics and tag management services and tools provided by Google and other third parties to collect certain information relating to your use of this Website. You can find out more about how Google uses data when you visit our Website by visiting “How Google uses data when you use our partners’ sites or apps.”
Mass General deploys the Facebook Pixel on this Website. The Facebook Pixel may enable Facebook to match website visitors with their Facebook User Accounts. You can find out more about how Facebook uses data from our Website by visiting “What kinds of information do we collect?> information from partners”.
Our Service Providers may acquire additional information about your activity on our Website, including pages you visit, access times, visit duration, how you arrived at our Website and your IP address. An IP address is a number that identifies a device connected to the Internet. For most devices, the IP address changes on at least a weekly basis. Our Service Providers may also acquire device identifiers and specific information about the browser you use. In some cases, this information may be unique to you.
How We Use This Information
Mass General uses the information you provide to fulfill online requests 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
- Tailor digital advertisements on third-party websites based on your interactions on our Website
- Improve our website offerings and send you information and updates
- Respond to your questions and requests and improve customer service
- Administer a promotion, survey or other site feature
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.
Users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland
EEA or Switzerland residents are entitled to the rights under Chapter III of the EU General Data Protection Regulation or Section 2 of the Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection with respect to the processing of personal data, which includes the right to access, rectify and request erasure of personal data. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. In order to verify your identity, we may require you to provide us with personal information prior to accessing any records containing information about you.
Third-Party Vendors/ Content Providers
Mass General shares information with third parties, including as required by law or in order to provide the services requested. Mass General engages reputable third-party vendors to help us manage this Website, provide content and information, and interact better with our patients and visitors.
Occasionally we may request feedback on this Website to better understand how we can improve what information we present and how we present it. These surveys do not ask questions that could personally identify you. We may ask for contact information to follow-up, but you can decline to provide that information. Information that you provide in a survey may be shared with employees or third parties to aggregate the data.
To unsubscribe from Mass General email communications, visit our subscription preferences center or click the “unsubscribe” or “manage your email preferences” link in the email you have received.
Please do not provide personal information via email to the hospital unless it is through a secure channel (these will be marked, as secure online forms, for example). Remember that email messages, unless encrypted while in transit, can be viewed by other Internet users. If you have personal information to communicate, please use the appropriate secure online form or contact the necessary party using traditional means such as phone or mail.
If you receive an email that looks like it is from Mass General and asks for your personal information, do not respond. This may be a scam or “Phishing” email intended to steal your information. Mass General will never request your password, user name, credit card information or other personal information through email.
Links to External Websites
Changes to This Policy
December 1, 2021