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doc2doc Privacy Policy

Your privacy

Protecting your privacy is one of our top priorities. Please take a few minutes to read the following carefully to understand our views and practices regarding your personal data and how we will treat it.

By using our site, you confirm that you accept the terms of our User Terms and Conditions and this Privacy Policy.

If you do not agree to the terms of this Privacy Policy, you must not use the Website.

Who are we?

Any reference to “BMJ”, “we”, “us” and “our” is to BMJ Publishing Group Limited. BMJ Publishing Group Limited is a company registered in England and Wales (registered number is 3102371) with registered office at BMJ, BMA House, Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9JR, UK.

We are registered on the Data Protection Public Register. Our Data Protection Registration Number is Z7607533.

Any reference to “you” or “your” is a reference to you as a user of a BMJ website or service.

For your information, within this Privacy Policy, the term “Healthcare Professionals” includes doctors, nurses, healthcare practitioners and medical students.

Changes to these terms

We recommend that you read this Privacy Policy prior to using our site and thereafter regularly review any changes. It is your responsibility for doing so.

From time to time we may change this Privacy Policy without further notice to you. We will post revisions on the Website.

Our privacy commitment

This document sets out the basis on which we will process any personal data we collect from you on this doc2doc website (“the Website” or “our site”). The Website is designed for doctors and Healthcare Professionals to share information and views with other doctors. Who can see which parts of the Website and which parts are open and have varying degrees of controls, are set out below.

We will make every effort to protect your privacy from those you do not wish to share information with, by informing you as to how your data will be used, adopting a consistently high level of site security and adhering to strict company policies on how we store and use personal information. This privacy policy has been developed in accordance with our legal obligations and may be updated from time to time.

1. What information is being collected and how is it used?

The nature of the personal data we collect from you will differ depending on what type of user you are, which area of the site(s) or aspect of the doc2doc service applies and the purposes for which you are supplying the data (for example whether you are registering to post to a forum or simply contacting us to make an enquiry or provide feedback).

What data we collect and how this is used is set out in detail in this policy but general categories include:

What data we collect and how this is used is set out in detail in this policy. General categories of data we may collect include:

  • information that you provide by filling in forms on our site which may include: your name, address, postcode, email address, date of birth, telephone number and payment details (if applicable);
  • technical information about your use of BMJ and specifically doc2doc services including details of your domain name, location and internet protocol (IP) address, operating system, browser version, the content you view and how long you stayed on a page;
  • data collected through the use of “cookies” and/or other devices; and
  • other data from time to time to help us provide you with improved products and services - for example when we ask you to fill in a survey or questionnaire.

In addition to any other uses specified set out in this Privacy Policy, we may disclose your personal information to any member of our group, which means our subsidiaries and our ultimate holding company, the British Medical Association and we may also use information provided by you in any one or more of the following ways:

  • to ensure that content on our site is presented in the most effective manner for you;
  • to monitor, develop and improve our products and services;
  • to provide you with information, products or services that you request from us or which we feel may interest you, where you have consented to be contacted for such purposes;
  • to allow you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so;
  • for non-marketing purposes - guidance for which is provided in section 6 below;
  • to notify you about changes to our service including to contact you with service messages. By way of example, if any service for which you have registered is no longer available, we may contact you to let you know that it has closed and inform you of any similar services offered by us and/or any company within our group of companies and/or a third party partner on our behalf.

2. What data do we collect for each type of user?

There are three types of Website users: (i) Registered Users, (ii) Verified Registered Users; and (iii) Unregistered Users. You will know what information is being collected during your registration process when you complete the relevant forms and provide the required details prior to submitting the application for registration. The relevant form or other data collection process will also specify what information is mandatory for the activation of the relevant registration.

2.1. Registered Users

Registered Users are users who are registered with us but with respect to who we have not obtained evidence that they are medically qualified and registered with their medical regulatory body. Such users may register to simply contribute to the discussion forums on the site and are not required to set up a full profile. Registered Users cannot contribute to closed clinical discussion forums. The information we collect is included on our registration form and as otherwise set out herein.

2.2. Verified Registered Users

A Verified Registered User is a user who has confirmed to BMJ that he or she is a doctor or Healthcare Professional. Such confirmation will be provided by supplying BMJ with their GMC numbers if they practise in the UK, or their work details, graduation certificates, or registration details if they practise outside the UK. This will allow them to join closed forum discussions. We may at any time seek additional or alternative verification information from members to satisfy ourselves that the relevant user is a practicing Healthcare Professional.

The information we will collect from you is set out on the registration form which includes your email address, GMC membership number (if you are a UK doctor), profession, specialty, legal name and current work address.

2.3. Unregistered Users

An Unregistered User is a user of the Website who is not a Registered User or a Verified Registered User.

2.4. General

For Registered Users and Verified Registered Users, when you post any content on this Website, you do so at your own risk and you must remain aware that some parts of the site (open forums and blogs) can be accessed by anyone including Unregistered Users. You should treat your posts as if they could be seen by anyone, including patients who might be identifiable or able identify you. We would urge you, wherever you work, to look at GMC guidelines on social media use by doctors and to refer to our Patient Confidentiality guidelines before posting any discussion comments or blogs on the site. You can, however, set your personal privacy options so access to your “My doc2doc” information is limited. We cannot, however, control the actions of other users who may chose to allow access to their “My doc2doc” information.

Whenever you create content on, or post content to, the Website other users (including Unregistered Users), may see your community screen name, (the name that you chose at the point of registration) other users will not see your real name unless you chose otherwise in your profile settings. Other details such as your specialty, grade and country of registration may be displayed in your profile if so selected by you when customising your profile.

3. What information is collected on the different areas of the Website?

Some detail around access and use of data on the certain sections of the Website is set out below:

3.1. Closed clinical forums

Access to clinical forums is restricted to Verified Registered Users. On the Website your community screen name will be displayed next to the title and first line of your posts in the Latest Blog Posts, Recent Discussions and Recommended Discussions content feeds. Once posted, we reserve the right to use data and comments with your community name, posted on the Website for BMJ’s use or use by selected third parties. Post publication removal of any such content is at our discretion.

3.2. Open forums & blogs

Only Registered Users and Verified Registered Users can post comments, start discussions, or add content to the Website. All open forum and blog content is visible to Unregistered Users. Content within closed forums is only visible to Registered Users who have been granted access to those forums. On the website your community screen name will be displayed next to the title and first line of your posts in the Latest Blog Posts, Recent Discussions and Recommended Discussions content feeds.

Once posted, we reserve the right to use (including edit) data and comments with your community name, posted on the Website for BMJ’s use or use by selected third parties. Post publication removal of any such content is at our discretion.

3.3. Your profile

All Registered Users and Verified Registered Users have the option of creating a profile for themselves and to tell other users about themselves. You will be able to select which information you wish to display and any mandatory information will be indicated. You can select to display your profile to nobody, your friends, or anyone. To change this setting, go to “My doc2doc”, “Settings”, and “preferences”. We may share information in your profile without your user name/name and contact details with third parties. We do this for purposes such as aggregating how many registered people on the Website are, for example, cardiologists or junior doctors, so that we can improve the Website.

3.4. Social media connectors

By clicking the Facebook connect, Twitter, and/or any other third party social networking connection indicated within “My doc2doc”, users agree to share details of their doc2doc posts and personas with Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and/or other third party social networking followers. Any details appearing on third party social networking sites will be governed by the terms and conditions and privacy policies of the sites on which they appear.

3.5. Searching for other users

Any user can use the people search function on the “People” tab to search for Registered Users or Verified Registered Users. The search provides the full name, country, specialty and grade of doc2doc Registered Users or Verified Registered Users, but does not provide his or her doc2doc community screen name or profile picture. Registered Users or Verified Registered Users will have the option of sending these users a message and requesting their friendship or to contact them as colleagues via an email to the recipient’s stated email address generated through our web mail system. The recipient will receive one email. This email will contain the message written by the requesting party, and also a link to login to doc2doc where the recipient can accept or decline the friend request. The requesting party will not see the email address or other contact details of the receiving party. If the friend request is accepted both users will then see information as set by the users in their profile. People who see your name in searches will not be able to access any other profile information or view your community screen name unless they are already your friend or approved contact.

4. Additional uses we will make of your data

We may use your data to respond and or monitor (as we determine) for any unauthorised use of our Website or any content within. If you post any content in breach of our User Terms & Conditions which involves any indication of violence or threats of violence or any similar act, we may at our absolute discretion inform any relevant third parties including without limitation the police and other law enforcement agencies about the content, your behaviour and any of your contact and/or profile details as we determine appropriate.

Should we receive a request to disclose your name (and /or contact details) by a claimant who alleges you have breached their rights, we will either inform the police or other law enforcement agencies as referred to above (if we consider this appropriate) or we will provide such information, if required to by virtue of a court order or any other requirements imposed by law. We may of course disclose any of your details to our advisors should we require advice around any disclosures.

We try and understand our users and so do collate information about what our users subscribe to from the BMJ and their profile internally. In addition to ensuring you can use this site properly, on some occasions we use the information provided to produce aggregate statistics in relation to pages being accessed. We may also use it to monitor usage patterns on the website in order to improve navigation and design features to help you get information more easily. This information is provided to us as daily logged files. In order to help us develop the website and our services, we may provide such aggregate information to third parties. The statistics however will not include any information that can be used to identify any individual.

5. What else do we collect when you use the Website

Each time you use the internet, an Internet Protocal (“IP”) address is assigned to your computer or internet-capable device via the internet service provider. This number may either be the same or different each time you access the internet. Each time your computer or internet-capable device requests information from our website, we log your IP address on our server and may log operating systems and browser types for system administration and to report aggregate information. We may use this in order to gather information about the website traffic and usage. Whether you are an Unregistered, Registered or Verified Registered User, our web server collects certain information such as (a) IP address; (b) host names (c) domain name (d) time and date information as requested (e) the browser version and platform when it is requested, (f) a record of which pages have been requested; (g) location data from your IP address. Location data may be necessary for us to “geo-block” or regionalise our website content or services

If you Contact Us, we may keep a record of that correspondence and use it to contact you in response and/or to update our records.

In addition to responding to complaints or claims received or discovered referred to above or any breaches of our User Terms and Conditions, we may use all information supplied or collected on this Website to enforce our legal rights and protect against unauthorised access, use, activity and/or copying, either personally or via third party contractors and advisors. This may involve using any details supplied by you including your name and contact details.

6. When will we contact you?

You will be given at least one opportunity to opt in or out (as applicable) from receiving marketing emails from the BMJ and third parties. For users who have opted to receive marketing emails from BMJ (and others where indicated and there is a jointly supplied product or service), and visit our websites through links provided in these emails, we may send information about your website usage to our third party email direct marketing provider. This is for the purpose of understanding the effectiveness of our email marketing campaigns and for targeting future email campaigns.

We may send you non marketing emails or other non-marketing communications, the nature or purpose of these emails and communication may include but shall not be limited to:

  • welcoming you to the doc2doc community and encouraging you to join discussions;
  • internal record keeping;
  • providing you with information, products or services that you request from us or which we feel may interest you, where you have consented to be contacted for such purposes;
  • where you have indicated your consent to be contacted for these purposes: allowing you to participate in interactive features of our service, this may include sending email prompts and reminders to you after long periods of your inactivity on the site or to alert you to responses which have been made to your forum or blog posts by other users of the Site;
  • notifying you about changes to our service including to contact you with service messages. By way of example, if any service for which you have registered is no longer available, we may contact you to let you know that it has closed and inform you of any similar services offered by us and/or any company within our group of companies and/or a third party partner on our behalf; and
  • periodically (though not at an excessive frequency) sending you emails about doc2doc updates and functionality.

Within each such non-marketing email, you will be given the option to unsubscribe from these non-marketing emails.

7. How long do we keep the information we collect?

We keep your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil our obligations to you and to protect our legal interests.

8. Use of cookies

Once you have accessed the website, we may store a temporary “cookie” on your computer, indicating that you are authorised to use the site. Cookies are small text files that are saved by your web browser and enable you to move throughout the site without having to sign in each time you look at a different page. We cannot identify you from these cookies. They simply tell us whether pages have been requested by the same person or two different people. In addition we also have non expiring cookies which will identify when the same user (or user from the same terminal) returns to the site. We do this to assist with the user experience and so we can restore the last used screen when new pages are loaded. If you wish to delete such cookies, please refer to the instructions for your file management software to locate the file or directory that stores cookies.

We may from time to time use cookies to identify the nationality of our users which enables us to present users with appropriate corporate branding and to conduct surveys as mentioned above.

More information about Cookies, including how to block them and/or delete them, can be found at www.aboutcookies.org . Please note that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site.

9. How personal information is stored and protected

Your personal data is stored in our databases or those of our contractors which other than as expressly set out herein, is only available to web administrators of BMJ, our contractors, and selected authorised people on a password protected basis (except where referred to in the final paragraph of Clause 5 herein). The data that we collect from you may be transferred to and stored at a destination outside of the European Economic Area (“EEA”). It may also be processed by staff operating outside of the EEA who work for us or are of our suppliers including within the United States. Such staff may be engaged in, among other things, hosting the fulfilment of your order, processing of your payment details and the provision of support services by submitting your personal data, you agree to this transfer, storing or process. We will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your data is treated securely by us and our contractors and in accordance with this privacy policy. Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our site, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. Please do not share your password(s) with anyone.

9.1. Security

We understand that the security of your information is important to you. We also understand that our continued success as a publisher on the web relies on our ability to communicate with you in a secure manner. We adhere to the highest standards of decency, fairness, and integrity in our operations. We use several measures to authenticate your identity when you visit our site. We also take steps to protect your information as it travels the internet, and to make sure all information is as secure as possible against unauthorised access and use (for example, by hackers). We review our security measures regularly.

Despite our best efforts, and the best efforts of other firms, “perfect security” does not exist on the internet, or anywhere else. Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorised access.

9.2. Authentication

You should not share your user name and password with other people. If you think you might lose or forget these identifiers, write them down and keep each in a separate place.

9.3. Email

Any email between you and BMJ is not encrypted.

9.4. Data within our walls

The information we collect about people visiting the site is stored in secure environments which are not available to any unauthorised individual or party. We have mechanisms in place to protect data. One such mechanism is called a “firewall”. A firewall is a barrier that allows only authorised traffic through. It safeguards our computer systems and your information. We also use system and application logs to track all access. We review these logs periodically and investigate any anomalies or discrepancies.

10. Contact us

Please contact us if any of the data we hold about you becomes inaccurate and if you have any queries or concerns about the data we are holding about you. We also welcome your feedback about what you like or don’t like about the Website. Your feedback (unless posted on the Website) is stored on a secure internal system that allows the appropriate person to respond to you, but this may be used as set out in our User Terms & Conditions. Please contact us through our Contact Us section.

11. Linking to external sites

You will encounter links to other sites from this Website which are not related to BMJ. Please be aware that once you click to one of these sites, you are subject to that site’s privacy policy and not to ours. You should review the privacy policy for each site you visit and this includes other BMJ sites.

12. Your consent

By submitting your information, you consent to the use of that information as set out in this policy. You should review this policy regularly, to note any changes as to how we collect and use personal information.


Thank you for reviewing this information.

If you have any questions, please send us an e-mail through our Contact Us section.

View privacy policy as a PDF

Last updated April 2013