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Privacy Policy

Information about the AHRQ Web site Privacy Policy.

This Web site is maintained as a public service to provide information on healthcare research and quality from our agency, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We collect no personal information about you when you visit our Web site unless you choose to provide that information to us.

Information Automatically Collected and Stored

When you browse through any Web site, read pages, or download information, certain information about your visit can be collected. We automatically collect and temporarily store the following information about your visit, but this information does not identify you personally:

  • The name of the domain you use to access the Internet (for example,, if you are using an America Online account, or, if you are connecting from Stanford University’s domain).
  • The type of browser and operating system you use to access our site.
  • The date and time of your visit.
  • The pages you visited.
  • The address of the Web site you came from, if you were referred from another site.

We use this information for statistics on the traffic to our site, to find out about general user interest in various areas of our site, and to help us make our site more useful to visitors.

We track the keywords that are entered into our search engine and the browse terms used to measure interest in specific topics, but we do not monitor which terms a particular user enters.

Web Measurement and Customization

We use Web measurement and customization technologies, such as cookies, to help our Web site function better for visitors and to understand better how the public is using our site.


AHRQ uses “cookies” to test and optimize our Web site design and content. A cookie is a small text file automatically placed on your computer. We use two types of cookies:

  • Session cookies are used to gather data for technical purposes, such as enabling better navigation through our Web site and generating statistics about how it is used. Session cookies are also used with an online survey given to improve the site. Session cookies are temporary text files that expire when you leave our Web site. When cookies expire, they are automatically deleted from your computer. We do not use session cookies to collect personally identifiable information (PII), and we do not share data collected from session cookies. Our use of session cookies is defined as “Tier 1” usage in accordance with the OMB Memorandum (M)-10-22 Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies (PDF – 103KB).
  • Multi-session cookies, a.k.a. persistent cookies, are used to identify return visits for our statistics. Multi-session cookies are cookies that are stored over more than a single session on your computer. We do not use multi-session cookies to collect PII, and we do not share data collected from multi-session cookies. Our multi-session cookies are set to expire 5 years after your last visit to our Web site. After 5 years, they are automatically deleted from your computer. Our use of multi-session cookies is defined as “Tier 2” usage in accordance with the OMB Memorandum (M)-10-22 Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies.

    In addition, users of the AddThis social media tool may receive multi-session (or persistent) cookies from AddThis and AddThis advertisers, so they get “relevant” ads while visiting other sites. AHRQ does not control these cookies; we refer you to the AddThis Privacy Policy External Link Disclaimer for details.

You can take actions to block cookies. Blocking these cookies from your computer will not affect your access to the content and tools on our Web site. Instructions to opt out are available on

Personally Provided Information

You do not have to give us personal information to visit our Web site.

If you choose to provide us with additional information about yourself through an Email message, form, survey, etc., we use that information only to respond to your message or to fulfill the stated purpose of the communication. The information provided is handled on a confidential basis within the agency.

However, Email is not necessarily secure against interception. If your message is sensitive, you may prefer to send it by postal mail instead.

All communications to the Web site mailbox and customer feedback form are archived on a monthly basis, and destroyed on an annual basis.

Third-Party Web Sites

To reach beyond our standard communication channels, AHRQ maintains accounts on third-party Web sites such as YouTube and Twitter External Link Disclaimer. These sites are not owned or operated by the government.

The privacy policies of these sites may differ from that of AHRQ. Third-party Web sites may share usage metrics with AHRQ for analysis. We do not collect any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from those sites. However, if individuals try to use these third-party Web sites are used to communicate with AHRQ, they may be providing nongovernmental third-parties with access to PII.

To contact AHRQ, please use the Ask a Question or Provide Feedback ( FAQ ) feature.


AHRQ does not disclose, give, sell, or transfer any personal information about our visitors, unless required by law enforcement or statute.

Intrusion Detection

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, we employ software programs to monitor traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. Such attempts are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.

Systems of Records

Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act and regulations and guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration, and in some cases may be subject to the Privacy Act. If information that you submit is to be used in a Privacy Act system of records, there will be a Privacy Act Notice provided.

Links to Other Sites

Our Web site has links to other federal agencies. We also have selected links to other Web resources. The privacy policy described here does not necessarily apply to those other sites. Once you link to another site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site.