Web Site User Privacy Rights
Boston Children's Hospital is strongly committed to protecting the privacy of its online users: patients, families, donors, the media, and others. We do not collect personally identifiable information about individuals, except when it is knowingly provided by such individuals. We do not share voluntarily provided, personally identifiable information for any purpose other than its intended use. The only exception is described under "Donations and Fundraising Events" (below).
We continuously try to improve the security of our information systems. While we have many security measures to protect electronically transmitted information and frequently review and try to improve the security of our site, we can't guarantee that a third party won't gain access to information provided to this Web site.
This privacy statement, updated March 2007, describes the information we collect and how we use it.
Information Collection and Use
Web log file data
We collect some basic Web log file data about site visitors. This information includes domain names, Web site traffic patterns and server usage statistics. This information is used for site management and administration and to improve the content and overall performance of our site.
Boston Children’s Hospital makes every reasonable effort to ensure that all of the transactions that occur on our web site are secure. We store personally identifiable data with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to protect information you may submit on our site. SSL is the industry standard protocol. All off-line information is securely stored and is accessible only by authorized Boston Children’s Hospital staff.
Boston Children's Hospital provides intake forms on our web site which may request confidential health information. These online forms are located on our secure site. We adhere to the requirements outlined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) legislation, which ensures security and privacy of an individual’s medical records. For your convenience, a printable version of the form is also available, if preferred.
Subscription to newsletter or press releases
If you subscribe to a newsletter, publication or press release published by Boston Children's Hospital and distributed via email, we will keep your email address in a private distribution list. Messages sent electronically do not reveal recipients’ email addresses or any other personal information. Boston Children's Hospital will only send messages to individuals who have opted to subscribe and who have provided their email address to us directly. We do not use this email address list for any other purpose, and we only add individuals at their request. At any time, you may opt out by using the unsubscribe link provided on our web site and in the publication email, which will remove your information from the distribution list for that publication.
“Cookies” and how we use them
Cookies are packets of information that a web site transfers to a user’s computer for record-keeping purposes. They are a means of keeping track of users’ preferences for content and alerting them to new content areas. Most browsers allow you to turn off cookies if you do not want them tracking your preferences.
The Boston Children’s Hospital web site (www.bostonchildrens.org) does not set or access cookies on your computer. The Boston Children’s Hospital Trust (giving.childrenshospital.org) does set and access cookies; however, no cookies are used to track an identifiable user’s movement through this web site. They are used only to enhance the usability of the site. You can still use this site if you turn the cookies off.
Donations and Fundraising Events
When you donate to Boston Children's Hospital or register for a fundraising event, we ask you to voluntarily provide your name, address, telephone number, email address and credit card number so we can process your donation or event registration, send you a receipt or confirmation and communicate with you if necessary. If you’d like, you can provide that information another way (by phone or regular mail).
Third-Party Service Providers
Boston Children's Hospital may engage reputable third-party vendors to help us manage our web sites and allow us to better service our patients and visitors. The hospital never shares with third parties any personally identifiable information you provide when requesting information or making a donation online, except as required by law.
Links to other sites
This site has links to other sites we think may be of interest to our visitors. Their purpose is to provide visitors with convenient access to other sites that might interest them. A link to another site does not imply an endorsement of the site’s content or services.
We are not responsible for the privacy practices of sites not owned by Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital Trust. We encourage you to be aware of that when you leave our site and to read privacy statements at any sites that collect personally identifiable data.
Boston Children's Hospital does not collect your email address unless you voluntarily submit it to us or choose to communicate with us via email. We do not sell or rent any email addresses. We try to respond to email messages requiring a response within five business days. If you email the hospital, your message and email address will be forwarded to the appropriate department or program within the hospital. Please do not email patient health information, as that information is confidential and should only be discussed with your physician.
How we use the information
Boston Children’s Hospital uses the information you provide to fulfill your online request, facilitate customer service and inform you of our programs and events.
We do not rent or sell visitors’ personal information to third parties, such as marketers.
We inform the companies that help the Boston Children's Hospital with donations made by credit card that they may not share or use personally identifiable information for any other purpose.
We do not share any third-party or personally identifiable information you provide with gifts in honor or memory of a loved one.
We do not share any personally identifiable information we may collect in surveys, although we may share aggregated survey results with analysts, as described above. The aggregate data cannot be used to identify individuals and participation in the survey is voluntary.
It is possible that we could be forced to disclose personally identifiable user information in response to a search warrant, subpoena, or court order; that can happen to any organization keeping records. Disclosures may also be appropriate to protect our legal rights and the security or integrity of our Web site, or to avoid liability. Those kinds of disclosures are highly unlikely, but possible.
Links to other sites
This site has links to other sites we think may be of interest to our visitors. Their purpose is to provide visitors with convenient access to other sites that might interest them. A link to another site does not imply an endorsement of the site's content or services.
We are not responsible for the privacy practices of sites not owned by Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital Trust. We encourage you to be aware of that when you leave our site and to read privacy statements at any sites that collect personally identifiable data.
Boston Children's Hospital Trust stores personally identifiable data with Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to protect credit card and other information you may submit from this site. SSL is the industry standard security protocol. All off-line information is securely stored and is accessible only by authorized Boston Children's Hospital staff.
Deletion and removal of information
Non-identifiable information in our aggregate database will not be deleted. Like all responsible website site publishers, we maintain backup files as a protection against natural disasters, equipment failures, or other disruptions. Backup files protect you and us because they lower the risk of losing valuable data. Removing a record from our main files does not remove that record from any backup systems. It may take up to six months before all information in a backup record is completely erased through the normal recycling of backup files. In the meantime, as long as backup records exist, they receive the same privacy and security protections as our other records.
Questions or comments?
Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Boston Children’s Hospital Trust
401 Park Drive, Suite 602
Boston, MA 02215
Updated: August 14, 2013.