Binghamton University researchers say they have developed a new way to protect personal electronic health records using a patient's own heartbeat.
Traditional encryption solutions "are gradually replacing clinic-centered healthcare, and we wanted to find a unique solution to protect sensitive personal health data with something simple, available and cost-effective," says Binghamton professor Zhanpeng Jin.
The researchers encrypted patient data using a person's unique electrocardiograph (ECG) as the key to lock and unlock the files. The patient's heartbeat is essentially the password to access their electronic health records.
"While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption," Jin says. "Through this strategy, the security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum cost will be added."
However, an ECG can change due to age, illness, or injury, so the researchers are working on ways to incorporate those variables.
The identification scheme is a combination of previous work using a person's unique brainprint instead of traditional passwords for access to computers and buildings, combined with cybersecurity work from Binghamton professors Linke Guo and Yu Chen.
From Binghamton University
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