Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secure protocol for medical data disclosure developed

Date:
May 17, 2011
Source:
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Summary:
It is important for health-care providers to report health issues, such as influenza outbreaks, to public health authorities. But there is evidence of a reluctance to share patient data for public health purposes due to concerns for both patient privacy and provider confidentiality. Researchers have now developed a secure protocol and system that would solve this problem.

It is important for health care providers to report health issues, such as influenza outbreaks, to public health authorities. But there is evidence of a reluctance to share patient data for public health purposes due to concerns for both patient privacy and provider confidentiality. Dr. Khaled El-Emam and his research team at the CHEO Research Institute have developed a secure protocol and system that would solve this problem.

Related Articles


The new system would protect the identity of patients and health care providers while providing effective disease surveillance and meet the needs of public health to detect and investigate disease outbreaks. The new system and associated research findings are published in this month's edition of the Journal of American Medical Informatics.

Providers have an obligation to report diseases to public health authorities, but new research shows that under-reporting by hospitals and physicians is common and can hinder effective disease control. Concern for patient privacy is a causal factor, but even when this concern is addressed, physicians feel themselves to be at risk when making such disclosures. For example, many are concerned that the data they report could be used to evaluate their compliance with clinical practice guidelines. Others fear an increased possibility of litigation, due to breach of confidentiality.

"Health care providers are less likely to make accurate reports if they feel the information could be used to evaluate them," says Dr. El-Emam. "The new protocol can provide confidence that the identity of healthcare providers is protected, and removes one more barrier to effective disease surveillance."

The secure protocol would encourage full disclosure from health care providers enabling public health officials to accurately track such things as influenza outbreaks and the spread of infection in hospitals. The system also has a "break the glass" mechanism which would allow public health to identify and contact individual patients in case of an outbreak requiring an investigation.

The protocol uses special cryptographic techniques that allow one to perform computations on the encrypted data themselves. Providers share encrypted data and the public health authorities can still compute infection rates over time and detect abnormalities. This gives strong guarantees that patient and provider identity are hidden.

Systems like this will also make it easier for other entities to automatically report to public health. For example, retail pharmacies can report over-the-counter sales data without worrying about revealing competitive store information, and schools can report absenteeism data. With the ability to access more data sources, public health will be in a better position to detect disease outbreaks at their earlier stages.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. El Emam, J. Hu, J. Mercer, L. Peyton, M. Kantarcioglu, B. Malin, D. Buckeridge, S. Samet, C. Earle. A secure protocol for protecting the identity of providers when disclosing data for disease surveillance. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 2011; 18 (3): 212 DOI: 10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000100

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. "Secure protocol for medical data disclosure developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517110319.htm>.
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. (2011, May 17). Secure protocol for medical data disclosure developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517110319.htm
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. "Secure protocol for medical data disclosure developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517110319.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins