Site Policies

At Kaiser Permanente, we are committed to providing our members and users of this website with credible and reliable health information. To reach our goal of presenting online information that is thorough, well-written, accurate, up-to-date, and unbiased, we have developed a rigorous set of ethical and editorial standards and processes.

Who we are

This website is owned and maintained by the Internet Services Group, a national department of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (KFHP). Kaiser Permanente consists of KFHP and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (both nonprofit, public benefit corporations), and the Permanente Medical Groups (for-profit corporations and partnerships). Kaiser Permanente is America’s largest nonprofit health plan, serving more than 8 million members in 9 states and the District of Columbia.

Why we have a policy

To help Kaiser Permanente’s members and users of this website make wise decisions about their health care, our commitment is to provide accurate, well-supported, quality information and services. Earning and maintaining the trust of our members and the users of this website is essential to our role as part of the Kaiser Permanente health care team.

Credible and trustworthy health and service information helps to:

  • empower people to make informed choices about their health care
  • enable people to work in partnership with their health care physicians
  • facilitate shared decision-making with health care physicians
  • encourage appropriate self-care and use of health care services
  • improve the quality of life of those with health-related problems

We provide health information, not medical advice

Members may securely e-mail their doctors and other health professionals and access portions of their medical record through My health manager on this website. Other information and online services we provide through this website are not meant to replace the advice and care you receive from your physician or other health care professionals.

  • The pharmacists on our “Contact a pharmacist” feature can provide general drug-related information for nonurgent questions, but cannot give individual drug advice.

We hope that this information will help you to be better able to participate with your health care physicians in making informed decisions about your care. Except where explicitly stated otherwise, it is not intended as specific medical advice. It is not a substitute for appropriate professional medical treatment or diagnosis.

The services provided through this website are for nonurgent purposes only.

Important: If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Do not attempt to access emergency care through this website.

If you have an urgent symptom or you want to speak with a nurse, do not use this website. Instead, please call your local Kaiser Permanente facility.

Read our entire emergency and urgent care statement.

Vendor relationships

We will clearly disclose on the site any significant business relationships between Kaiser Permanente and other organizations mentioned on our site. We will make reasonable efforts to determine that companies that provide health content or health-related services for this website abide by appropriate ethical standards of conduct.

Conflict-of-interest policy

To keep our health information as free from bias as possible, we require all Kaiser Permanente authors, editors, message board moderators, and other content contributors to this website to disclose any potential conflicts of interest they may have. Possible conflicts of interest include financial relationships or other affiliations with businesses or organizations that promote or sell products or services that are the subjects of the health information being considered. If such conflicts of interest exist, or if there would be a reasonable perception by the public that a conflict of interest could exist, the person would be excluded from contributing to that particular topic.

Advertising policy

This website does not accept advertising from any source not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. We may provide links to other Kaiser Permanente websites that do contain advertising.

Product sales policy

Any information promoting a product or service that is offered for sale on this website will be clearly identified as marketing information.

Content selection and credibility

Topics to be covered, their emphasis, and placement on the site are determined by our website content team.

Whether produced by Kaiser Permanente or licensed from outside sources, our site will contain health information that we believe to be credible and up-to-date. We will not make claims of therapeutic benefit without reasonable support.

The content team is composed of Kaiser Permanente licensed health care professionals, health educators, members of the management team, and health writers.

Initial content review

Health information authored or produced by Kaiser Permanente staff for this website is reviewed for accuracy by Kaiser Permanente health professionals.

Before any health content is licensed or purchased for use by this website, it will undergo thorough review. We will consider licensing health information only if:

  • It is produced by a reputable organization.
  • We approve the organization’s separate editorial policy and review processes.
  • The health information meets our standards for thoroughness, accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.
  • The health information is based either on scientific evidence (preferred) or, when this is not available, expert consensus.

Continuing content review

Because the art and science of medicine is constantly evolving, published health information must constantly be reviewed and updated. All health information authored or produced by Kaiser Permanente staff is reviewed at least every two years. In addition, health topics will be updated as needed when significant new information is published in the medical literature.

Health information on our site that is licensed or purchased from outside sources is periodically reviewed under guidelines set by those sources. Those guidelines will have been approved by members of our website team prior to licensing.

We encourage you to submit any comments or concerns you have about any health information on this website by contacting our Web manager.

Editorial independence

Kaiser Permanente maintains editorial independence. Kaiser Permanente health professionals review and approve health information on this website, whether it is produced by Kaiser Permanente staff, or is licensed from outside sources.

Where our health information comes from

The health information on this website is either:

  • authored or produced by Kaiser Permanente staff
  • licensed from reviewed and approved outside sources

Authorship, review date, and source identification

We will clearly identify the authorship and source of all health information on this website, as well as its date of authorship, review, or update.

Health information produced by Kaiser Permanente will be identified at a minimum by its author and/or source, and will contain its origination date and/or the date of last review or update.

All health content produced by Kaiser Permanente staff or its content vendors is written by authors with generally accepted credentials and/or degrees in their areas of expertise. All health content on this website has been reviewed and approved by clinicians with relevant expertise.

Health information from licensed sources will be identified at a minimum by its author and/or source, and will contain its origination date and/or date of last review or update, according to the policies of the organization providing the information.

Health links

To provide you with additional resources, this website contains links to other websites. However, unless we state otherwise, providing an external link does not imply benefit coverage or formal endorsement by Kaiser Permanente. We will make reasonable efforts to ascertain that linked sites abide by appropriate ethical standards of conduct. While we do select the sites we link to with care, we do not vouch for or assume responsibility for the material contained on those sites.

When you do choose to link to an external site, you will be clearly advised that you are exiting our site.

External health-related websites to which we provide a link must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The website is provided by an organization known to Kaiser Permanente.
  • It offers relevant products, services, and/or health information.
  • The health information on this site meets our standards for thoroughness, accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

We re-evaluate all external health-related websites to which we link at least annually.

Updating our editorial policy

As the types of health and medical information we produce and review undergo change, we will update this editorial policy. The date of the most recent update will be clearly posted at the end of this document. We encourage you to periodically reread this policy, to see if there have been any changes to our policies that may affect you.

Last updated: September 27, 2011