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Privacy Policy

Update: 14 May 2018

General Statement

SERMO® is the world’s most trusted and preferred social network for doctors with over 800,000 verified and credentialed members across 150+ countries. Our community of doctors come to SERMO to anonymously seek real life, peer-to-peer medical expertise and share their honest experiences about their profession.

SERMO’s mission is to revolutionize real-world medicine by democratizing medical knowledge and insights to improve clinical outcomes. Our unique and collaborative network benefits each stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem from our members and clients to the real-world medical community at large.

This Privacy Policy applies to all Services and websites that are offered and provided by SERMO, its divisions, and its affiliates.

If you are a European citizen or if you live outside the United States, the data controller responsible for your information is WorldOne Research Limited, a company incorporated in England and Wales with its registered office at 3 Murphy Street, Third Floor, London SE1 7FP U.K.

This Privacy Policy ("Privacy Policy") discloses the privacy practices for SERMO (sometimes referred to as "SERMO", "we", "our" or "us") with regard to your ("You" or "Your") use of the website (app.sermo.com or www.SERMO.com) (the "Site" or "Sites"). This Privacy Policy has been updated for the European General Data Protection Regulation in force as of May 25, 2018 (“GDPR”).

Please read this Privacy Policy carefully so You understand how SERMO processes and protects Your information and also in order to ensure that the benefits and obligations of membership are understood. We also encourage members talk to us with any questions, comments or suggestions having read this Privacy Policy.

Our Privacy Policy

In the course of providing You a high quality SERMO experience and through Your interactions with us, SERMO collects information about You and about Your use of our Site.

SERMO takes your privacy and its obligations under data protection laws very seriously, and we strive to be transparent at all times about our treatment of your information.

Our Privacy Policy covers the following:
  1.    Information Collection and Use
  2.    How and why we share Your information
  3.    How we secure Your information
  4.    Your Rights and the Lawful Bases to Process Your Information
  5.    Contact Us

1. Information Collection and Use

Registration Information

Before You can register for SERMO, You will need to provide Your name, address, phone number, email address, physician license or professional credential information. We will use this information to set up and administer your account. You must also consent to the privacy practices set out in this Privacy Policy, as well as agree to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct in order to register.

We may use your information to send you information about our services, and provide you with information about other goods and services we offer that are similar to those that you have already used or enquired about to market to you. We may also use this information to provide you, or (based on your explicit consent, if and when required under applicable law) permit selected third parties to provide you, with information about goods or services we feel may interest you. If you are an existing customer, we will primarily contact you by electronic means (e-mail or SMS) with information about goods and services similar to those which you have expressed interest in. If you are a new customer, and where we permit selected third parties to use your data, we (or they) will only contact you by electronic means with your consent. If you want us to use your data in this way, or to pass your details on to third parties for marketing purposes, please tick the relevant box situated on [the form on which we collect your data]) or otherwise contact us via the e-mail or regular mail addresses found at the end of this Privacy Policy;

Your information may also be used to help prevent spam, fraud, or abuse. You may use your settings for email and mobile notifications to control notifications you receive from our Services. You may also unsubscribe from a notification by following the instructions provided with the notification or instructions available via the Site.

Personal Account Information

Once a registered member of SERMO, You may provide additional information in Your personal account profile which describes You, including Your birth date, social network username, medical school, institutional affiliations, credentials, professional experiences, academic background and biography. Providing additional information in Your personal profile is not required and entirely optional, but it may allow You to derive greater benefits from using SERMO, such as invitations to participate in surveys, if you choose to provide this. This information can be updated or removed by You at any time, and You may choose whether to make some of this information publicly visible to other social network participants.

If You wish to become part of the SERMO Panel, You will gain access to additional services via the Site. To do so You may provide some further information beyond the registration information You have already provided, for example, professional memberships and other evidence of Your specialism(s). Providing this information may help You derive full benefits of SERMO membership after You have registered.

Information we receive from You

A key part of SERMO involves encouraging the free flow of ideas, opinions and content between medical professionals, and most of this information provided by users is available to be viewed by other SERMO users. However, regardless of the nature of your posts, we ensure your opinion will remain anonymous if you wish it to be. When You post content such as articles, comments and photos on SERMO, we may also receive additional data (or metadata) related to the content, for example, the time, date, and place You took a photo.

We also collect information when you navigate the SERMO site, for example, when You visit a SERMO page, send or receive a message, click on or otherwise interact with content, post content, view or click on ads we display, perform a search, or participate in polls. We may use this information to make inferences, such as about the content, people and ads You may be interested in. If You have agreed to our use of cookies (see our Cookie section and policy below) and one of our cookies on your device identifies You, Your usage information and the log data described below, such as your IP address, will be associated by us with Your account.

We also receive and use Your information when You decide to contact us. If You email us, we may keep Your message, email address, contact information we need to categorise Your enquiry, respond to it and, if applicable, investigate any breach of our Terms of Use, Code of Conduct or this Privacy Policy. We may also use this information to customise and improve our services over time. We do not use this information for advertising.

To set up and run Your SERMO account, we may ask you to provide some financial information in order to allow You to be compensated for participating in Opportunities (see our Terms of Use) such as debit/credit card information. If You choose to specify an alternative way to withdraw these amounts, such as through gift cards or charitable donations, we will need to collect information from You in order to process these transactions. Where such Opportunities are offered by third parties we will also need to collect information about Your participation in such Opportunities from those third parties, in order to validate payments. We may also need to send the information set out in this section to trusted third parties that we appoint to process and administer such payments.

SERMO does not collect personal health information about individuals. SERMO does not collect or maintain information that would associate a submission with a specific patient. So please ensure that You do not disclose anything that would allow a patient to be identified. Note also that SERMO does not possess a data based key to re-identify patient data.

Information to/from Third Parties

We reserve the right to instructed trust third parties to process Your information in order to verify SERMO user identities and ensure that members are medical professionals and to protect the integrity of SERMO by preventing fraud.

We may obtain data from our affiliates or our advertising partners, customers and other third parties, such as Woopra, which help us (or them) deliver sponsored content onto SERMO, understand online activity, and generally improve Your SERMO experience. Such third parties may share information about You which includes a browser cookie ID, website URL visited, mobile device ID, or cryptographic hash of a common account identifier (e.g. usernames or email address), which enables SERMO to provide ads on the Site and monitor Your preferences and Your interest in them. However, You can choose to block certain ads by enabling an ad blocker to Your web browser so that Your information will not be matched to information shared by ad partners for this purpose. SERMO also makes use of Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”), which uses cookies to analyse how users use the website. The information generated by the cookie about Your use of the website will generally be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. At the request of SERMO, Google will use this information for the purpose of measuring Your activity on SERMO’s website, compiling statistical reports on overall website activity for SERMO on an anonymous basis and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google will not associate your IP address with any other information held by Google. In addition, you can prevent the collection of the information generated by the cookie by Google, as well as the processing of this data by Google, by downloading and installing the browser plug-in available from the following link: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

Cookie Information

A cookie is a small piece of data that is sent to Your browser from a Web server and stored on Your computer's hard drive. A cookie cannot be used to read data off Your hard disk nor can read cookie files created by other sites. We use cookies to improve Your experience on the site; for example, by setting a cookie on Your browser, You would not have to log in a password more than once, thereby saving time. You can choose whether to accept cookies by changing the settings of Your browser. You can reset Your browser to refuse all cookies or allow Your browser to show You when a cookie is being set. If You reject the cookies on the Site, You may still be able to use the Site, but Your use may be limited in some areas or limited to certain functions of the Site.

The SERMO Site uses session cookies and persistent cookies to better understand how you interact with the Site, to monitor aggregate usage by and web traffic, to enable You to access surveys, and to make improvements the Site. You can learn more about the use of cookies in our Cookie Policy.

Log Information

When you use our Site, SERMO may use information such as Your IP address, browser type, operating system, referring web page, pages previously visited, location (see below), mobile carrier, device and/or application identifiers, search terms, and cookie information to align our services with changes in Your device usage patterns, to administer the Site, and to gather certain demographic information for aggregate use. We may also receive log information when You view or interact with links on the SERMO site, including sites operated by third parties.

Location Information

We may receive information concerning your location if, for example, You choose to post content which reveals this information. We may also determine Your location using information from Your device, such as GPS data, information about wireless networks or cell towers near Your device, or IP address. Subject to your explicit consent, we may use this to improve and customise our service to You, for example by making you aware of content, people and ads more relevant to Your location. You can choose to turn off location services on Your device if you prefer, however if You do so You will not benefit from such tailored content.

2. How and why we share Your information

We will only process the information we collect about You in accordance with this Privacy Policy or where You have otherwise authorised us to do so by your explicit consent.

SERMO is free and we want to make sure it remains this way for a long time. Organizations seeking physician expertise, such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device firms, and biotech firms, underwrite the market research and sponsorship opportunities within our site and help us to pay for the delivery of SERMO to You. We may direct You to pages which contain commercial content or You may be presented with the opportunity to engage with sponsored content, such as at the conclusion of a RealTime or SERMO Conversations, SERMO Pages SERMO Ratings, which are further described in the Terms of Use. Subject to Your explicit consent, we may then provide our partners with engagement effectiveness metrics that include the sharing of some minimal personal data for performance assessment purposes. To protect the anonymous nature of our physician conversations, we will clearly identify commercial content with logos or with words such as “SERMO Client”, ”Client Page", “From Industry”, “sponsored polls” or “sponsored page” or other clear identifiers instead of using Your information, prior to Your engagement. As a Panel member, SERMO (or its service providers or affiliates on SERMO's behalf) may contact you multiple times via any and all contact information that you provide to SERMO.

We engage service providers to perform certain functions on our behalf and help us to provide our services. We may share Your information with such service providers, who are carefully selected by us, where we impose obligations on them which are consistent with this Privacy Policy, and on the condition that they act only on our instructions and keep Your information secure. We may also share Your information with other entities within the SERMO group and we have implemented technical and contractual measures to help ensure that Your information is secure through-out the SERMO group.

Subject to implementing relevant safeguards under Art. 46 GDPR, the data that we collect from you will be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"). It will also be processed by staff operating outside the EEA who work for us or for one of our service providers. We will take all steps necessary to ensure that Your information is subject to the required technical and organisational measures as required under law and are treated in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Users of the Site are prohibited from revealing any information that might identify another user; and doing so will constitute grounds for immediate termination of that members’ account. However, if You have chosen to reveal personal data on the Site it is possible that other users may make reference to it. As such, please consider carefully what information You choose to make public on the Site.

Sale of Assets, Merger, Acquisition, Bankruptcy

Information collected from You, or received by us from others about you may be transferred to a third party to the extent permitted by law, as a result of a sale or acquisition, merger or bankruptcy involving SERMO. This Privacy Policy will apply to Your information as transferred to the new entity. We will still inform You beforehand and provide you with a possibility to object within a reasonable timeframe.

Legal Requests

SERMO takes Your right to privacy very seriously and has taken measures to safeguard Your personal data. SERMO will only disclose Your personal data other than as set out above in the event we are required to do so by law, rule, regulation, law enforcement, governmental official, legal authority or similar requirements.

3. How we secure Your information

We are committed to protecting the security of Your information. We use a variety of industry-standard security technologies and procedures designed to help protect Your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Despite these measures, You should know that we cannot fully eliminate security risks associated with information and transmission of data over the internet can never be completely secure. In the event of a data security breach, we will take all required action as required under law.

The Site may contain links to other sites. The linked sites are not necessarily under the control of SERMO. Please be aware that SERMO is not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. SERMO encourages You to be aware when You leave this Site and to read the privacy policies of each and every web site that collects personal information. If You decide to access any of the third-party sites linked to this Site, You do this entirely at Your own risk. Any links to any partner of the Site is responsibility of that partner, and SERMO shall not be responsible for notification of any change in name or location of any information on the Site.

4. Your Rights

You also have a legal right under data protection laws to access the information we hold about you and to a copy of any information about You held by us. On request, we will provide You with access to and a copy of this information. You also have a right to correct any errors in that information and request deletion of Your information or to object to processing operations (provided we are not under legal obligations to retain certain information), to revoke any given consent at any time, as well as to have Your information made available in a portable format pursuant to the GDPR. We reserve the right to decline requests that are unreasonably repetitive or that jeopardise the privacy of others, the validation facility, or the interests of justice or where we are otherwise required to retain Your personal data under by law. You also have the right to object that we process Your information for marketing. You can exercise Your rights as a data subject to prevent such processing at any time by contacting us at support@sermo.com.

Update and deletion of Personal Information

If Your personal information changes (such as address or payment information), You can update Your profile on the Profile page of the Site. SERMO will correct, update or remove Your personal data provided to SERMO as directed or You can do so via the self-service Profile page mentioned above.

If You no longer desire to use the Site, you may permanently delete your SERMO account. The time to deactivate Your account will vary according to your prior history with SERMO. In the simplest cases deactivation will be prompt following the receipt of a “cooling off “ communication reminding you of the results of deactivation. For some accounts the process will be longer as we complete certain administrative task relating to Your past activity and any incentives You have earned. However, SERMO will aim to complete account deactivations within 30 days from the original request, this does not affect any information use choices You make, which will be honoured promptly.

If You no longer wish to be a member of the SERMO Panel, You may request to be removed from the Panel at any time. If You choose to opt-out of the Panel, You do not terminate Your SERMO membership.

You can request Your personal details to be removed from the Panel active database and to have your participation in the Panel terminated by:

  • sending Us an e-mail at support@SERMO.com from the e-mail address you registered with and with the words "Remove Me" in the subject line; and
  • sending Us an e-mail at support@SERMO.com referencing the e-mail address with which you registered with the Panel and with the words "Remove Me" in the subject line.

Failure to follow the stated procedure correctly may result in delay in the removal of Your information from the Panel databases. Your removal request will be dealt with promptly. If You choose to remain a SERMO member, we will retain Your personal information for the purposes stated herein in respect of your SERMO membership.

Lawful Bases to Process Your Information under the GDPR

The GDPR provides for six legal bases that permit an organisation like SERMO to lawfully process Your information the six are:

  1. You have given consent to the processing of Your information for one or more specific purposes. For example; clicking “I agree” to a cookie alert while browsing a page on the internet or consenting to a specific information processing request contained within an online survey.
  2. Processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which You are a party or in order to take steps at the request of You prior to entering into a contract. For example; when You agree to be a SERMO panel member SERMO will then process your information to; verify Your identity, location and professional specialisation, determine the market research opportunities [whether via email or telephone surveys] You are eligible for, match You with third party market research targeting lists [e.g. the U.K.’s GMC list], project related pre and post market research analytics provided that Your personal data will not remain with a third party or be used for any other purpose; use Your data to respond to regulatory requests, create and administer an incentives account for the incentives You earn as a SERMO panel member and respond to Your queries via our Member Care team.
  3. Processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which SERMO is subject. For example; accurately reporting taxes, complying with financial transparency laws [e.g. Loi Bertrand in France] or reporting pharmacovigilance adverse event information.
  4. Processing is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of You or of another natural person. For example; reporting Your information as part of a potentially life-saving or life-threatening event, via SERMO’s obligation to report adverse events
  5. Processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in SERMO. This legal bases will probably not be used by SERMO.
  6. Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by SERMO or by a related third party, except where such interests are overridden by Your interests or fundamental rights and freedoms. For example: Your information is an important element in SERMO’s provision of a global social network, free at the point of access. As a result SERMO is able to provide its social platform based tools and products, such as SERMO Drug Ratings™ tool that is based upon the drug ratings You provide and then You have the right to use the SERMO Ratings results via the Site. The SERMO Community team also use Your information to help administer this Site and SERMO’s market research and social network activity that are in part generated form this Site.

Notification of Changes

We may update this Privacy Policy at any time, with or without advance notice. In the event of any change in the way we treat Your personal data, or in the Privacy Policy document itself, we will display a notice on the SERMO website (app.SERMO.com) or send You an email, so that You may review the changed terms prior to continuing to use the Site. As always, if You object to any of the changes to our terms, and You no longer wish to use the Site, You may contact SERMO Support to deactivate Your account. Unless stated otherwise, our current Privacy Policy applies to all information that SERMO has about You and Your account.

Site and Service Updates

As necessary, SERMO may send You Site and service announcement updates. You are not able to unsubscribe from service announcements, which contain important information about the Site, unless you delete your account. SERMO primarily or without communicates via e-mail with You to provide requested services and to resolve issues relating to Your accounts.


5. Contact Us

Should You have questions about this policy or SERMO's information collection, use and disclosure practices, You may contact our interim Data Protection Officer at the email address: support@sermo.com or at SERMO, 3 Murphy Street, Third Floor, London SE1 7FP U.K.

We will use all reasonable efforts to respond promptly to requests, questions or concerns You may have regarding our use of personal information about You. Except where required by law, SERMO cannot ensure a response to questions or comments regarding topics unrelated to this policy or SERMO's privacy practices.

Effective as of May 25, 2018