Information Collection and Use
The AOA is the sole owner of the information collected on our Sites. We will not sell, share, or rent this information to others in ways different from what is disclosed in this statement.
Personal Information Collection and Use
“Personally Identifiable Information” (PII) refers to any information that identifies or can be used to identify or contact you when you use or visit our Site. The AOA collects the PII that you provide, which may include, but is not be limited to, your name, date of birth, address, email address, telephone number, as well as demographic and transactional data. In addition to PII collected online, the AOA may also receive information about you from other sources, such as state licensing boards and colleges of osteopathic medicine. Additional PII collected and used by AOA on physicians and osteopathic medical students is outlined in the Physician Data Collection and Use section below.
Some examples of where and when your PII may be collected include when you:
- apply for membership, or renew membership dues;
- register for an AOA event or meeting;
- access our products or services;
- participate in a service where your PII is displayed, such as the Find Your DO tool on DoctorsThatDO.org or AOAProfiles.org;
- create an account on our websites;
- subscribe to our publications;
- request marketing materials from us;
- enter search queries on our websites;
- participate in a promotion or survey provided by the AOA;
- serve as a volunteer;
- participate in continuing medical education (CME) activities and reporting;
- contact the AOA with feedback or request membership/customer support.
Aggregate information is information in summary form and is not considered PII because it does not reveal your identity. The AOA uses analytical tools and software to analyze trends, administer the Site, track your movements through the Site, and gather broad information for aggregate use. The AOA uses and allows third parties to use aggregate information to aid in the development or implementation of programs, products and services. The AOA also uses such aggregate information to analyze website visits, page views and referral links to gain insight into functionality, interest, and overall user experience.
The AOA does not disclose payment information provided by its members and customers. When members and customers choose to pay, whether by credit card, check, or other form of payment, AOA submits the information needed to obtain payment to the appropriate clearinghouse.
Some of our websites and our emails may contain small electronic files known as web beacons (also referred to as clear gifs, pixel tags and single-pixel gifs) that permit the AOA, for example, to count users who have visited those pages, or opened an email, and for other related website statistics (for example, recording the popularity of certain website content and verifying system and server integrity).
The AOA may use automatic data collection technology to gather information about your device(s) and how you interact with content on our sites. This may include information such as whether you are a new or existing user, the duration and frequency of your visits, the web content you view, and what searches you conduct. We may also collect information about how you’re accessing our sites, such as the type of device you’re using (e.g., cellphone, tablet, desktop computer, etc.), what browser you’re using, your network, your operating system and the speed of your server connection.
Using Your PII
The AOA uses PII collected to:
- verify membership with AOA;
- provide access to subscription-based or membership content and services;
- deliver personalized content on our sites based on the visitor’s PII;
- improve or add content, usability, functionality to our sites;
- display content, ads and marketing;
- send informational service or marketing-related communications on AOA activities, news, events or products and services;
- process your payment for AOA member dues, or an AOA-sponsored product, service or event;
- process and record your CME for your CME report;
- verify physician credentials via AOA Profiles to medical licensing boards, insurance providers, physician employers and other related credentials verification organizations;
- publish practice-related physician details and contact information on the AOA’s online patient referral service (DoctorsThatDO.org);
- deliver and process survey requests;
- provide dietary and disability accommodation;
- respond to your email or online request for service or feedback.
Disclosure and Sharing With Third Parties
The AOA will disclose your PII to third parties when necessary for the provision of services to you, for the protection of others, and when required by law.
The AOA may also use PII provided by you to conduct research, to improve our Sites, and to provide services to you. Your PII may be shared with our business partners so that they can offer products or services you may be interested in. The AOA may work with outside companies to carry out tasks such as, but not limited to, certification and licensing, CME processing, advocacy action alerts, credit card payment processing, distributing purchases, responding to customer inquiries, consulting, website analytics and monitoring, printing, mailing, event registration, email marketing, website hosting and data storage. Any companies we work with are given only the information they need to deliver that service, and they are forbidden by contract from using the information for any other purpose. Except as described here, third parties are not allowed to collect PII about your digital activities over time or across other internet-based platforms or applications when you use our Sites.
Managing Your PII
You can manage your profile and email preferences, or request to be removed from any non-transactional communication from the AOA by contacting us using the information in the Contact Us section of Osteopathic.org. California residents have additional considerations per California’s “Shine the Light” law.
You have the right to:
- opt out of some or all future communications from us;
- request and view any personal data we have about you;
- correct or update any data we have about you*;
- ask us to stop using or sharing data about you; and/or
- ask us to delete any data we have about you.
The AOA will remove your PII from our active databases or anonymize so that the data is no longer identified with you. In instances where physicians request the AOA’s assistance in verifying credentials for employment, licensing or other practice-related support, deletion of your data could impede or delay the credentialing process. Additionally, your data may remain in our archives if the AOA determines that it is not possible to delete.
*Corrections or updates to certain data we have on you (i.e., licensure, medical education or training, etc.) will require primary source verification prior to any changes to your data.
Physician Data Collection & Use
The AOA collects data on all osteopathic medical students and osteopathic physicians, including those who are not AOA members, which is collectively referred to as the AOA Masterfile (“Masterfile”). Osteopathic physicians are physicians who have graduated from medical schools accredited by the AOA’s Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. The AOA also collects data on those who are not DOs but who are members of the AOA, such as allied or associate members.
The AOA obtains osteopathic medical school, internship/residency and fellowship training, and board certification information only from primary sources. It obtains demographic information from osteopathic medical schools. The AOA also obtains address and contact information from commercial sources and from other organizations related to the osteopathic medical profession, including osteopathic state associations and specialty colleges.
The Masterfile is used in aggregate form to document and research trends in the osteopathic medical profession and the important role osteopathic physicians serve in health care. It benefits the practicing physician by providing an easy way for the public, hospitals and licensing boards to verify credentials.
Each physician record in the Masterfile includes demographic information, osteopathic medical school, postgraduate information, and current practice information. Demographic information includes gender, date of birth, self-identified race/ethnicity, mailing address and other contact information. Current practice information includes type of practice, self-identified specialty, state medical licensure, National Provider Identifier (NPI) number, opioid prescriber number, and board certification from AOA or ABMS certifying boards. Physicians may also ask the AOA to verify certain types of non-osteopathic postgraduate medical education, which then becomes part of their physician record.
While data verification and authentication are the Masterfile’s primary purpose, the AOA shares limited information from the Masterfile with other osteopathic organizations, and licenses portions of its Masterfile to selected licensees. Both operate under carefully restricted information usage agreements. The AOA does not release home addresses to licensees when we have a business address. Licensees work with many health care related companies that offer a wide range of products and services that may be of interests for osteopathic physicians and the larger medical community. They include:
- medical and professional journals
- drug recall and safety information
- continuing medical education programs
- physician credential verification services
- drug samples and pharmaceutical information
- medical equipment and supplies
- employment opportunities
- general practice-related commercial offers of interest to physicians as consumers
In addition to the PII management rights listed earlier, physicians may further direct the AOA:
- To exclude them from the AOA’s online patient referral service, Find Your DO, on DoctorsThatDO.org.
- Not to release contact information to affiliates or licensees: This option permits the AOA to contact the physician, but the AOA will not share any contact information with other osteopathic organizations, or with its licensees, which is the basis for receiving most of their products and services, including journals, new product announcements, information about health hazards and information about drug recalls.
- Not to release physician-provided information (PII): This option means that the AOA will not release any physician-provided information to licensees or other osteopathic organizations. This would include not-releasing physician-provided information used to announce drug recalls and health hazards, information given to state licensing agencies and agencies verifying credentials such as hospitals and physician groups. Physicians electing this non-release option will also be excluded from the AOA’s Find Your DO searches, and will not receive the JAOA or any AOA special publications.
The AOA will immediately record your request and preferences; however, there will be a delay while your request to remove PII is communicated to its licensees. You may see residual marketing and communication pieces or emails for a short length of time until your PII is removed. Please contact the AOA should you have any questions or concerns.
The AOA takes precautions to protect the information we collect. We use SSL encryption to protect your payment transactions. We also take necessary precautions to protect our database off-line. The server on which we store personally identifiable information is kept in a secure environment.
The CRC team can also be reached by phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CST, at (888) 62-MYAOA (888-626-9262), fax: (312) 202-8202, or by mail at American Osteopathic Assn, Attn: Customer Resource Center, 142 E. Ontario St., Chicago, IL 60611-2864.
Revised June 21, 2018