Privacy and trust management for electronic health records

Alhaqbani, Bandar Saleh (2010) Privacy and trust management for electronic health records. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Establishing a nationwide Electronic Health Record system has become a primary objective for many countries around the world, including Australia, in order to improve the quality of healthcare while at the same time decreasing its cost. Doing so will require federating the large number of patient data repositories currently in use throughout the country. However, implementation of EHR systems is being hindered by several obstacles, among them concerns about data privacy and trustworthiness. Current IT solutions fail to satisfy patients’ privacy desires and do not provide a trustworthiness measure for medical data. This thesis starts with the observation that existing EHR system proposals suer from six serious shortcomings that aect patients’ privacy and safety, and medical practitioners’ trust in EHR data: accuracy and privacy concerns over linking patients’ existing medical records; the inability of patients to have control over who accesses their private data; the inability to protect against inferences about patients’ sensitive data; the lack of a mechanism for evaluating the trustworthiness of medical data; and the failure of current healthcare workflow processes to capture and enforce patient’s privacy desires. Following an action research method, this thesis addresses the above shortcomings by firstly proposing an architecture for linking electronic medical records in an accurate and private way where patients are given control over what information can be revealed about them. This is accomplished by extending the structure and protocols introduced in federated identity management to link a patient’s EHR to his existing medical records by using pseudonym identifiers. Secondly, a privacy-aware access control model is developed to satisfy patients’ privacy requirements. The model is developed by integrating three standard access control models in a way that gives patients access control over their private data and ensures that legitimate uses of EHRs are not hindered. Thirdly, a probabilistic approach for detecting and restricting inference channels resulting from publicly-available medical data is developed to guard against indirect accesses to a patient’s private data. This approach is based upon a Bayesian network and the causal probabilistic relations that exist between medical data fields. The resulting definitions and algorithms show how an inference channel can be detected and restricted to satisfy patients’ expressed privacy goals. Fourthly, a medical data trustworthiness assessment model is developed to evaluate the quality of medical data by assessing the trustworthiness of its sources (e.g. a healthcare provider or medical practitioner). In this model, Beta and Dirichlet reputation systems are used to collect reputation scores about medical data sources and these are used to compute the trustworthiness of medical data via subjective logic. Finally, an extension is made to healthcare workflow management processes to capture and enforce patients’ privacy policies. This is accomplished by developing a conceptual model that introduces new workflow notions to make the workflow management system aware of a patient’s privacy requirements. These extensions are then implemented in the YAWL workflow management system.

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ID Code: 37635
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Fidge, Colin & ter Hofstede, Arthur
Keywords: electronic health records, privacy, trust, access control, federated identity management, record linking, inference channels, reputation systems, subjective logic, workflow management systems, work-allocation strategies
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Sep 2010 01:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:00

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