Privacy Policy

Protecting your privacy is important to us. Please take a few moments to review this policy.

Introduction. ACCESSSS is a service made available by McMaster University's Health Information Research Unit that incorporates the McMasterPLUSTM email alerting system and searchable database of best evidence from the health care literature.

This privacy policy explains what information has been collected about you, how personal information is being used, to whom personal information is being disclosed, and how this personal information is stored and protected. This privacy policy has been developed in accordance with our legal obligations and may be updated from time to time.

If you have any queries concerning your personal information or any questions on our use of the information, please contact us.

The information we collect and how we use it.

1. What information do we collect and how is it used? When you visit this site to access ACCESSSS, any data collected will be collected in Canada.

To access ACCESSSS you must register. When you first register for ACCESSSS, you will be asked to submit details such as a personal email address, as well as your name and the country you live in. You will also choose a password. All mandatory information, indicated with an asterisk, helps us to understand our users and to fulfil our obligations to you. We then use this information to grant you access to what you require. You will be asked if you wish to receive general email updates. You will be given an opportunity to opt out of this each time we contact you thereafter.

2. What else do we collect when you use our website? Each time you use the internet, an IP address is assigned to your computer through the internet service provider. This number may be either the same or different each time. Each time your computer requests information from our website, we log your IP address on our server. We may use this to gather information about the website traffic and usage.

Whether you are a registered user or not, our web server collects certain information such as (a) IP address; (b) host names; (c) domain name; (d) time and date when the information is requested; (e) the browser version and platform when it is requested; and (f) a record of which pages have been requested. We do not identify any individual from these data.

3. What else do we use personal information for? Other than allowing you access to ACCESSSS, the information you provide is on some occasions used 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. 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.

4. To whom will personal information be disclosed? We will not disclose your personal data to any third party other than our sponsors, who must keep this data secure and confidential. Corporate location information, however, may be shared.

5. 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 protect our legal interests.

6. Can you change information we hold about you? Where you have provided us with an email address or any information that becomes outdated, you will need to update your details using the My Profile link at the top of the site. You must be logged in to access the My Profile page.

7. How is personal information stored and protected? We store your personal data in electronic and paper-based forms. Website usage information is stored electronically.

Security. The information we collect about site visitors is stored in secure environments and we do not share any data that identifies any individual to any other 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.

We understand that the security of your information is important to you. We also understand that our continued success as an information provider 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. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot warrant the security of the information you transmit to us online. You therefore do so at your own risk.

Once we receive your transmission, we make our best efforts to ensure its security on our system.

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

Email. Any help or feedback email you send will be sent to McMaster University’s Health Information Research Unit. Your emails are not encrypted but will be stored securely within a corporate firewall (see above).

Cookies. Access to our website is dependent on the use of session cookies. Most browsers allow the user to control the cookies including whether to accept them and how to remove them. If you disable cookies on your computer some of the more sophisticated features on our website will be unavailable to you.

Session cookies are stored, in memory, by your browser. Session cookies have a life of 30 minutes from the time you last accessed a page on our site. If you have not used our site for more than 30 minutes, your browser will delete the cookie and you will have to log in again to view certain areas.

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 or delete them, can be found at

Contact us. If you have any concerns or queries about the information we hold about you or wish to provide feedback about this site, please contact us.

Linking to external sites. You will encounter links to other sites over which we have no control. 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 may wish to review the privacy policy for each site you visit.

Your consent. By using this website you consent to the use of any data we collect as set out in this policy. You should review this privacy policy regularly, to note any changes relating to how we collect and use your information

For more information, please contact us at, or see McMaster University's Privacy Office website at