Navigation Links
Protecting patient privacy the new fashioned way
Date:9/25/2008

INDIANAPOLIS Protecting patient privacy has been recognized as the duty of health-care providers for about as long as doctors have seen patients. In 1996 that duty became a legal obligation when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HIPAA regulations safeguard patient's personal health information but can also complicate the process of safeguarding public health. Information aggregated from the medical records of vast numbers of individuals is needed to develop new drug therapies and novel medical treatments, to stop epidemics or prevent other life threatening events.

In a study published in the September-October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Jeff Friedlin, D.O., of the Regenstrief Institute, Inc. and the Indiana University School of Medicine, discusses a new computer program that may resolve the complex issue of privacy vs. public good. Dr. Friedlin writes about the Medical De-identification System (MeDS), a highly accurate and speedy computer software program he has developed and successfully tested for de-identifying patient information while retaining the essential data key to medical research.

"Medical researchers need data from really large numbers of actual patients, but must protect their privacy. The more data we can access, the better our studies will be. This is not the first software program to remove or "scrub" patient identifiers from medical records, but compared to programs that have been evaluated and described in peer reviewed studies, it is both broader and more accurate," said Dr. Friedlin, who is a research scientist at Regenstrief and an assistant professor of family medicine at the IU School of Medicine.

MeDS can eliminate identifying data from history and physicals, discharge notes, and laboratory, pathology and radiology reports. The current generation of de-identifying software concentrates on removing patient identifiers from pathology reports.

The new software program replaces the deleted identifying data with a symbol so the researcher knows something was taken out. To further insure confidentiality, MeDS does not indicate the nature of what was removed. "This software does something that a human could easily do but in a fraction of the time and expense. A human could 'white out' personal identifying information in 10 hefty medical records in about 6 hours. MeDS can do the same thing in under two minutes," said Dr. Friedlin.

MeDS is the first system described in peer-reviewed literature which attempts to detect and eliminate misspelled names. In addition to deleting the patient's name, Smith, for example, MeDS also is able to find and delete misspellings like Ssmith or Smithh or Smmith or even mith. While acknowledging that this sometimes leads to eliminating information that does not identify the patient ("red" being eliminated from the record of a patient whose name is "Reed"), Dr. Friedlin says he would rather accept some degree of what he calls over-scrubbing than risk release of personal data by setting the bar too low.

No system is infallible. What information might MeDS neglect to protect? Not much, according to Dr. Friedlin, although something similar to "the patient is a former president of the United States with Alzheimer disease" would not be caught.

MeDS has been tested on data from the Regenstrief Medical Record System, a large (more than 660 million distinct observations) repository of 35 years of patient data and on data from other institutions.

Regenstrief Institute medical informatics research scientists comprise one of the largest medical informatics physician brain trusts in the United States.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. APHA Urges President Bush Not To Veto CHIP; Were Only One Signature Away from Protecting the Health of Our Children
2. Medical identity theft: the importance of protecting your health records
3. National Patient Advocate Foundation Hails Senator Rockefeller for Introducing Bill Protecting Patient Access to Health Coverage
4. Doctors, economist, write prescription for protecting people from themselves
5. Congressman Tom Reynolds Awarded for Protecting Medicare Choices
6. OHSU research suggests new strategy for protecting aging Americans against infectious disease
7. An emerging candidate for protecting patients from liver injury after abdomen surgery
8. Therapist to Young Hollywood Says Industry Needs to Take More Responsibility for Protecting Stars Mental Health
9. Protecting Productivity at the Worksite in Challenging Times
10. Medicare Cuts in Bush Budget Shortsighted, Far Off the Mark in Protecting Seniors Long Term Care Needs, Sustaining Nursing Home Quality Gains
11. SfN releases Best Practices for Protecting Researchers and Research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer ... unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid ... healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to ... , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there ... my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 ... by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of ... honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. ... magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay ... be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... "Pharmaceutical Excipients Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, ... (Oral, Topical, Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is ... a CAGR of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... environments  Oticon , industry leaders in ... the launch of Oticon Opn ™, the world,s ... world of possibilities for IoT devices.      ... Opn, Oticon introduces a number of ,world firsts,: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: