Interactive, Web and Design

Web Policies


Access Content Links
Accessibility Copyright Patient Privacy
Appropriate Use Domain names Privileges/Responsibilities
Authority Homepages Social Media
Architecture Hosting Updates
Commercial Vendors Interactive  

All Vanderbilthealth.com and ChildrensHospital.Vanderbilt.org sites exist to deliver information about medical services at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to the public. All mc.vanderbilt.edu sites exist to deliver information about VUMC to academics, medical professionals and internal sources. The domain medschool.vanderbilt.edu is reserved for the School of Medicine and is primarily used for prospective students, department websites, student organizations and research centers.

Contact Betsy Brandes, director of Interactive, Web and Design at betsy.brandes@vanderbilt.edu if you have questions or comments about the VUMC Web Standards or need help securing Web development resources.

Access: All VanderbiltHealth.com and mc.vanderbilt.edu sites must be managed using SiteBuilder; Children's uses SiteDoc. Overriding pages with custom code is not permitted. Training and support for all content management systems is free and is arranged through Interactive and Web.

Accessibility: All VUMC Web sites should abide by ADA’s Web Accessibility requirements wherever possible.

Appropriate Use: The content of all Web pages placed on any university-owned server or delivered over the university network must comply with all Vanderbilt policies and procedures, as well as local, state and federal laws. Information providers and their sponsors are responsible for ensuring that Web pages are consistent with Vanderbilt standards and conform to existing computer-usage policies.

Authority: Interactive and Web reserves the right to remove, edit or replace any content that does not conform to VUMC standards. All VUMC Web sites must be pre-approved by the director of Web Services. This includes sites hosted on the VUMC server. All sites must comply with the standards listed on this page.

Architecture: Use simple and intuitive layouts. Major changes to site layouts are to be approved by VUMC Web Development in advance. If a site becomes too large and unwieldy, feel free to call on us for help.

Commercial Vendors: Commercial vendors are limited to custom database programming and tool creation. The SiteBuilder tool is used to create and maintain all VUMC Web sites.

Content: Text on VanderbiltHealth.com and ChildrensHospital.Vanderbilt.org sites should be written at an 8th grade level or lower according to best practices for health literacy. We can help edit text to reach this goal. All content for these sites should be created for a lay-audience, that is, people who are not medical professionals nor necessarily familiar with Vanderbilt.

Information about academic programs, professional events, internal communications and other matters for medical professionals, with the exception of referring providers, should appear on School of Medicine or mc.vanderbilt.edu sites. We can help with any of these options. Be sure to include a link from department pages that says: For patient information go to VanderbiltHealth.com (or Chldren's). Any content for patients and/or referring physicians should only appear on VanderbiltHealth.com and ChildrensHospital.Vanderbilt.org.

All content must be original, not copied from another source. Placeholder content (coming soon, save the date, etc.) should not be used.

Any page that offers health information must include this disclaimer: This site is not a source of medical advice. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your existing physician or healthcare provider.

Copyright: Vanderbilt computing resources should be used in a manner that is protective of the use privileges and property rights of others. Users must therefore:
• Abide by all local, state and federal laws, including copyright laws.
• Abide by all applicable software license agreements.
• Use only the accounts, access codes or network identification numbers assigned to them.
• Access only those files or data that they are authorized to use.

If you have questions about copyright contact Kevin Davis in the University counsel's office.

Domain Names/urls: ITS buys and registers domain names (urls) for all VUMC departments, divisions, programs and labs. URLs for patient-focused sites (e.g. VanderbiltHeart.com, VanderbiltDiabetes.com, etc) are purchased through VUMC web development, contact your marketing lead for more information.

You are charged only what the registry service charges; there is no extra fee. All domain names must be registered through ITS to make sure we have accurate records.

Click here for ITS domain name policy and procedure.

Changing URLs: If a URL is to be changed, please follow these steps:
1. Put up a temporary redirect script sending the visitor to the new site.
2. Contact ITS to share the new URL.
3. After a reasonable amount of time, take down the old site and disable the redirect script.

Homepages: Interactive and Web will maintain all VanderbiltHealth.com homepages. We maintain some mc.vanderbilt.edu pages, although most are managed by their respective departments. Content for homepages is provided by the department/clinic. Your homepage must include a contact e-mail address as well as the department’s U.S. mail address and phone number with area code.

Also include a link back to your department’s homepage on each screen of your website. This is important because people can enter your website without first going to your homepage.

The department name should be in the title of your page. this will help search engines find your site. A date when the site was last updated will automatically appear at the bottom of the homepage. Every department should update or refresh the content of its site at least once a month.

Hosting: VUMC offers free space on our server to all medical center departments. Sites must be hosted on the VUMC Web server.

Interactive: Videos, podcasts and animations enrich our sites and are encouraged. Feel free to use quality content produced by Vanderbilt or, when appropriate, outside sources (all copyright laws apply). Best file format for videos is MP4.

Links: If you're building your own site, you must include these links on the homepage:

  • Medical Center homepage: www.mc.vanderbilt.edu
  • Vanderbilt University homepage: www.vanderbilt.edu
  • Are you a patient? Click here. [link to www.VanderbiltHealth.com]

Patient Privacy: Patient health information should not be stored on, transmitted or collected through or otherwise come into contact with VUMC sites. Interactive and Web can build encrypted forms that can take PHI through sites. Contact us for a cost estimate.

Privileges and Responsibilities: Please refer to the Vanderbilt Acceptable Use Policy for the full policy statement.

Social Media: See the VUMC Social Media Policy for details on these resources.

Updates: Update content at least monthly. Content that refers to events in the past or outdated information should be removed. Each department is encouraged to create and follow a schedule for reviewing the site quarterly to be sure content is current.

An annual maintenance contract may be arranged with Interactive and Web to make sure the site gets updated. 

This page was last updated March 9, 2016 and is maintained by