Effective April 15, 2016 || Updated May 22, 2023
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS A MANDATORY ARBITRATION PROVISION BELOW THAT WAIVES YOUR RIGHT TO A JURY TRIAL AND REQUIRES ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND OTHER TERMS THAT LIMIT THE REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO YOU IN THE EVENT OF DISPUTES OR CLAIMS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS AGREEMENT OR THE DIGITAL SERVICES.
About Our Digital Services
Houston Methodist provides many Digital Services so that you can educate yourself on our facilities and services, general health issues, how to schedule appointments, our virtual care, and more. Information provided to you through these Digital Services should not be regarded as medical or health care advice or treatment unless expressly stated otherwise with respect to the specific Digital Service. General use of the Digital Services does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions or other health related issues. Never delay obtaining medical advice or disregard medical advice because of information you accessed on or through the Digital Services. IN CASE OF A HEALTH EMERGENCY, CALL 911 AND SEEK IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE FROM EMERGENCY PERSONNEL.
Information We Collect on Our Digital Services
When you use our Digital Services, we may collect information from or about you, as well as the Device used to access the Digital Services, in a variety of ways.
Depending on the service, when you access and use our Digital Services, you may be asked to provide us with the following kinds of information:
In addition to any information that you submit to us via our Digital Services, we may use technologies and online tools, or your browser may contain technologies, that automatically (or passively) store or collect certain information when you visit or interact with the Digital Services. This information may be accessed or stored using a variety of technologies, including through the use of Tracking Technologies that may be placed onto to your personal computer, browser, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or other device (a ”Device”) whenever you visit or interact with our Digital Services, depending on your Device settings. For more information on how we use Tracking Technologies, see below under the section “Tracking We Use on our Digital Services“. For details on how to manage your Device settings, please review here.
Automatically or passively collected information using Tracking Technologies may include:
Why We Collect Information
We collect and store information that you provide to us on or directly through the Digital Services. We collect your information for a number of reasons, depending on the Digital Services, including to:
When We Share Information
Houston Methodist works with a number of third parties in the ordinary course of our business, to provide the most optimal experience when you use our Digital Services, and to facilitate and process your requests. The information we share will vary depending on the relationship we have with the third party, including in the following ways:
(a) Third-Party Service Providers and Representatives. We may share information with or receive information from third-party service providers, vendors, consultants, and representatives that perform services for Houston Methodist or support the Digital Services, subject to appropriate agreements as necessary with those third parties. Examples are vendors or representatives hosting the Digital Services, designing and/or operating the Digital Services’ features, tracking the Digital Services’ activities and analytics, and otherwise enabling us to send you marketing materials, special offers or perform other administrative services, and to support the purposes described in the section “Why We Collect Information.” Such third parties may store, collect or otherwise have access to your information when you interact with their Tracking Technologies, content, tools, apps or ads on our Digital Services. You consent to this information collection, use and third-party sharing.
(c) Affiliates and Business Transfer. We may share information within Houston Methodist (including with parent, subsidiary and affiliate entities (collectively, “Affiliates”)). We also may disclose and transfer this information: (i) to a subsequent owner, co-owner or operator of the Digital Services or applicable database; or (ii) in connection with a merger, consolidation, restructuring, the sale of substantially all of our interests and/or assets or other corporate change, including, during the course of any due diligence process.
(d) Corporate Governance. We will share this information as needed to support compliance and corporate governance functions.
We may use various methods, tools, and technologies to store or collect information about your use of and access to our Digital Services (“Tracking Technologies”). Tracking Technologies may set, change, alter or modify settings or configurations on your Device. A few of the Tracking Technologies we may use include the following (and subsequent technology and methods later developed):
(a) Cookies. A cookie is a unique data file placed on a Device when it is used to visit our Digital Services. Cookies help enable your preferred web experience, allowing our Digital Services to recognize your Device and preferences, and to track your use of and interest in different parts of our Digital Services.
(b) Web Beacons. Small graphic images or other web programming code called web beacons (also known as “1x1 GIFs” or “clear GIFs”) may be included in our Digital Service’s pages and messages. Web beacons may be invisible to you, but any electronic image or other web programming code inserted into a page or e-mail can act as a web beacon. Web beacons or similar technologies may be used for a number of purposes, including to count visitors to the Digital Services, to monitor how users navigate the Digital Services, or to identify particular articles or links actually viewed.
(c) Embedded Scripts. An embedded script is programming code that is designed to collect information about your interactions with the Digital Services, such as the links you click on. The code is temporarily downloaded onto your Device from our web server or a third-party, is active only while you are connected to the Digital Services and is deactivated or deleted thereafter.
(d) Browser Fingerprinting. Collection and analysis of information from your browser used on your Device, such as your browser type, version, operating system, plug-ins, system fonts and other data, for purposes of identification.
(e) ETag, or Entity Tag. A feature of the cache in browsers. It is an opaque identifier assigned by a web server to a specific version of a resource found at a URL. If the resource content at that URL ever changes, a new and different ETag is assigned. Used in this manner, ETags are a form of Device Identifier. ETag tracking may generate unique tracking values even where the consumer blocks HTTP, Flash, and/or HTML5 cookies.
(f) Recognition Technologies. Technologies, including application of statistical probability to data sets, which attempt to recognize or make assumptions about users and devices (e.g., that a user of multiple devices is the same user).
We are giving you notice of the Tracking Technologies and your available choices regarding them so that your consent is meaningfully informed. You are responsible for managing any preference changes on your Device or browser.
Generally, certain Tracking Technologies may be rejected, disabled or removed by tools that are available as part of most commercial browsers, and in some but not all instances can be blocked in the future by selecting certain settings. Each browser you use will need to be set separately and different browsers offer different functionality and options in this regard.
Please be aware that if you disable or remove these Tracking Technologies some parts of our Digital Services may not work and when you revisit our Digital Services your ability to limit browser-based Tracking Technologies is subject to your browser settings and limitations. For information on managing these preferences, visit All About Cookies at https://allaboutcookies.org/how-to-manage-cookies or consult your Device or browser provider.
Various third parties are developing or have developed signals or other mechanisms known as “do not track signals”. For instance, some browsers may have such signal options, although they differ as to if the signal is set as default or must be turned on by the user. Further, there is currently no standard as to what sites and app operators should do with regard to these signals. Currently, we do not monitor or take any action with respect to these signals or other mechanisms, although we may consider doing so if an understandable and practical standard is developed and widely adopted.
Securing Your Information
No data transmission over the Internet, mobile networks, wireless transmission or electronic storage of information can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. Please note that we cannot ensure the security of any information you transmit to us. You use our Digital Services, and provide us with your information, at your own risk.
Ownership of Information on Our Website
All material contained within our Digital Service is the sole property of Houston Methodist or its licensors. Any reproduction or redistribution of this material is prohibited without the express written consent of Houston Methodist. Any reproduction of illustrations or photographs appearing on these pages is strictly prohibited.
The information on houstonmethodist.org is provided for general information purposes only. It does not replace the relationship that exists between a patient and his/her physician. The information provided through our Digital Services should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional health care.
Physician Directory and Videos
Houston Methodist gives all physicians that qualify for inclusion in its physician directory the option to submit a physician profile and a video. The information provided in the profile and the video are submitted by the physicians, and the information included does not constitute an endorsement or corroboration of facts by Houston Methodist and its Affiliates.
Endorsement of External Sites
As part of our effort to provide you with as much health-related information as possible, we feature external links from our Digital Services to other third-party websites on the Internet. We believe that you will find these websites useful; however, we do not endorse these websites. We are not responsible for their content or privacy practices. If you’re asked to supply information to those third parties, we encourage you to carefully read their privacy policies.
Houston Methodist is a non-commercial, nonprofit organization not subject to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). It is also a general audience service that does not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of thirteen (13) through the Digital Services that requires parental notice and consent under COPPA. If you are a child under 13 years of age, you are not permitted to use the Digital Services and should not send any information about yourself to us through the Digital Services.
In the event that we become aware that we have collected personal information, as defined by COPPA, from any child, we will dispose of that information in accordance with COPPA and other applicable laws and regulations. If you are a parent or guardian and you believe that your child under the age of 13 has provided us with personal information without COPPA-required consent, please contact us as set forth in How to Contact Us above.
Funding of Site
Houstonmethodist.org is the website for Houston Methodist and its Affiliates, located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, and surrounding communities. The Digital Services are funded by Houston Methodist and its Affiliates.
Your use of the Digital Services is at your own risk. Information accessed through the Digital Services, and the Digital Services themselves, are provided on an "AS IS" and “AS AVAILABLE” basis with all faults and without any warranty of any kind, express or implied.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, HOUSTON METHODIST, ITS AFFILIATES, AND ALL RELATED PHYSICIANS OR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS (COLLECTIVELY, PROVIDER) EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND RELATED TO THE DIGITAL SERVICES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND TITLE OR NONINFRINGEMENT. WITHOUT LIMITATION TO THE ABOVE, PROVIDER DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY THAT (I) THE DIGITAL SERVICES WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, (II) THE DIGITAL SERVICES WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY , SECURE, OR ERROR-FREE, (III) THE RESULTS THAT MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE USE OF DIGITAL SERVICES WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE, (IV) THE QUALITY OF ANY PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, OR OTHER MATERIAL PURCHASED OR OBTAINED THROUGH DIGITAL SERVICES WILL MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS, NEEDS OR REQUIREMENTS, AND (V) THAT ANY ERRORS ASSOCIATED THE DIGITAL SERVICES WILL BE CORRECTED.
PROVIDER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY INACCURACIES OR DEFECTS IN THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, COMMUNICATION LINES, INTERNET OR YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP), COMPUTER HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE, OR ANY OTHER SERVICE OR DEVICE THAT YOU USE TO ACCESS OUR ONLINE SERVICES. IN NO EVENT WILL THE PROVIDER BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE FOR ANY DECISION MADE OR ACTION TAKEN BY YOU OR ANYONE ELSE IN RELIANCE UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED THROUGH THE DIGITAL SERVICES.
NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION, WHETHER ORAL OR WRITTEN, OBTAINED BY YOU FROM PROVIDER OR THROUGH OR FROM THE DIGITAL SERVICES SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
YOU SHALL BE SOLELY AND FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE TO THE DIGITAL SERVICES OR ANY COMPUTER SYSTEM, ANY LOSS OF DATA, OR ANY IMPROPER USE OR DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION ON THE DIGITAL SERVICES CAUSED BY YOU OR ANY PERSON USING YOUR USERNAME AND PASSWORD. EXCEPT AS PROHIBITED OR LIMITED BY LAW, PROVIDER CANNOT AND DOES NOT ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY LOSS, DAMAGES, OR LIABILITIES ARISING FROM YOUR MISUSE OF ANY PROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION, ADVICE, IDEAS, INFORMATION, INSTRUCTIONS, OR GUIDELINES ACCESSED THROUGH THE ONLINE SERVICES.
Limitations on Liability
TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, YOU AGREE THAT HOUSTON METHODIST, ANY AFFILIATES OR PROVIDERS, AND ANY THIRD PARTY WHO PROMOTES OR PROVIDES A LINK TO THE DIGITAL SERVICES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, LOSSES, FEES, CHARGES, EXPENSES OR LIABILITIES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, LOSS OF DATA, OR ANY OTHER PECUNIARY LOSS) ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE, ACCESS TO, OR PERFORMANCE OF THE DIGITAL SERVICES (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO A DELAY OR INABILITY TO USE THE DIGITAL SERVICES, THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE THE DIGITAL SERVICES, OR FOR ANY INFORMATION, DIGITAL SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE DIGITAL SERVICES), REGARDLESS OF THE LEGAL THEORY ON WHICH THE CLAIM IS BASED, AND EVEN IF WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE DAMAGES WERE FORESEEABLE.
WITH RESPECT TO DIRECT DAMAGES, AND WHERE THE ABOVE EXCLUSIONS OF SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, LOSSES, FEES, CHARGES, EXPENSES OR LIABILITIES ARE LIMITED OR PROHIBITED UNDER LAW, YOU AGREE THAT ANY AND ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, FEES, CHARGES, EXPENSES OR LIABILITIES YOU SUFFER OR INCUR ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH THE USE, ACCESS TO, OR PERFORMANCE OF THE DIGITAL SERVICES SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE FEE PAID BY YOU IN THE THREE MONTHS IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE FIRST OCCURRENCE OF THE SUBJECT DAMAGES, LOSSES, FEES, CHARGES, EXPENSES OR LIABILITIES.
THE PARTIES AGREE THAT THE EXCLUSIONS OF REMEDIES AND LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED IN THIS SECTION ARE A REASONABLE ALLOCATION OF RISK AND APPLY REGARDLESS OF THE FORM OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, AND APPLY EVEN IF ANY LIMITED REMEDY SPECIFIED IN THIS AGREEMENT IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED OF ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HOUSTON METHODIST OFFERED THE SERVICE TO YOU IN RELIANCE ON THE LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY SET FORTH IN THIS SECTION, AND THAT THE SAME FORM AN ESSENTIAL BASIS OF THE BARGAIN BETWEEN THE PARTIES. BECAUSE SOME STATES AND JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY, THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.
TO THE EXTENT THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY ARE RESTRICTED UNDER LAW, THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS SHALL BE APPLIED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED UNDER THE LAW.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS CAREFULLY BECAUSE THEY REQUIRE ARBITRATION OF CERTAIN DISPUTES ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND LIMIT THE PROCEDURES BY WHICH YOU AND HOUSTON METHODIST CAN SEEK RELIEF.
(b) Class Action Waiver. Except as expressly set out below and to the maximum extent allowed by applicable law, you and Houston Methodist agree that each may bring claims against the other only in your or its individual capacity, on an individual basis, and that you and Houston Methodist each waive any right to pursue claims on a class, collective, non-individual, mass, or consolidated basis or in a representative proceeding. Except as otherwise expressly set out below, an arbitrator may not join or consolidate more than one person’s claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of representative, collective, non-individual, mass, or class proceeding. Nothing in these terms should be read to allow class arbitration. Any claim that all or part of this Class Action Waiver is unenforceable, unconscionable, inapplicable, invalid, void or voidable may be determined only by a court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator. All disputes with respect to whether any other aspect of this Dispute Resolution provision and its terms is unenforceable, unconscionable, applicable, valid, void or voidable shall be determined exclusively by an arbitrator, and not by any court.
(c) Pre-Arbitration Notice and Good Faith Negotiations. You and Houston Methodist also agree that each party will notify the other in writing of any Dispute before initiating arbitration, so that we can try to resolve the Dispute informally and individually. Notice by Houston Methodist will be sent to you at your last known street and email addresses on file, and notice by you to Houston Methodist will be sent by mail to Houston Methodist’s Legal Department at 6565 Fannin, D200, Houston, Texas 77030 Attn: General Counsel and to the following email address: RiskAttorneys@houstonmethodist.org. The notice of Dispute must be specific and individual to you and include your name, street address, telephone number, and email address used for access to the online services, as well as a brief description of the Dispute, the amount of money (if any) at issue, and the specific relief sought. The notice must be signed and include your handwritten signature or the handwritten signature of a Houston Methodist employee, as applicable, depending on which party is initiating the Dispute. You and Houston Methodist then agree to negotiate personally, individually, and in good faith to try to resolve the Dispute. If and only if we cannot resolve the Dispute within 30 days after the notice is received, then either party may commence an arbitration proceeding with a written demand for arbitration. Any limitations period will be tolled from the date the Dispute is noticed to the other side until the expiration of this 30-day period. Compliance with this Pre-Arbitration Notice provision is a condition precedent and requirement for initiating any arbitration proceedings.
Should more than 50 individual arbitration demands be initiated by or against Houston Methodist, and either by or with the assistance of the same law firm or coordinated group, or seeking relief based on similar alleged conduct, then all of those arbitration demands will be administered in batches of up to 100 demands per batch with a single arbitrator for each batch and a single filing set of fees (e.g., if applicable, one filing fee, case management fee, and arbitrator compensation fee) per side per batch. You and Houston Methodist agree to cooperate in good faith to implement such a batch approach or similar approach for efficient resolution of claims, including as necessary the payment of single filing, case management, arbitrator, or administrative fees for batches of claims. If more than 50 individual arbitration demands are initiated by or against Houston Methodist, and either by or with the assistance of the same law firm or coordinated group, or seeking relief based on similar alleged conduct, and the batch approach process is deemed unenforceable, unconscionable, inapplicable, invalid, void or voidable, then the parties’ agreement to arbitrate, including the Agreement to Arbitrate and Jury Waiver provision above, shall also be null and void with respect to the parties in that batch of arbitrations.
(e) Arbitration Fees. The party initiating the arbitration will pay any filing, case initiation, or arbitrator fees, up to the amount that would be required to pursue the same claim in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (currently, $402.00). For individual damages claims with less than $25,000 at issue, Houston Methodist will pay the additional, reasonable fees and costs of arbitration. For claims with more than $25,000 at issue, or where a party seeks injunctive or declaratory relief, the parties will share the fees and costs of arbitration equally. The parties’ good faith negotiation of reasonable fees with the arbitration provider is authorized as needed. If the arbitrator determines that your or Houston Methodist’s claim(s) are frivolous, the party bringing the frivolous claim(s) will reimburse the other party for any amounts that other party paid for the arbitration.
Choice of Law
The Digital Services are not intended to constitute the doing of business in any other jurisdiction other than Texas, nor to be a solicitation of business anywhere on behalf of Houston Methodist and its Affiliates, and all other affiliated organizations and physicians, nor to constitute any contacts with any jurisdiction outside of Texas.
Severability, Entire Agreement, and Modification
If you have any inquiries, or would like to update or changes to your Personal Information we currently have collected on our Digital Service subject to this policy, you may contact us using the information below.