A Holistic Perspective of Security in Health Related Virtual Communities

A Holistic Perspective of Security in Health Related Virtual Communities

I. Apostolakis (National School of Public Health, Greece), A. Chryssanthou (Greek Data Protection Agency, Greece) and I. Varlamis (University of Peloponnese, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-002-8.ch025
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Abstract

A significant issue in health related applications is protecting a patient’s profile data from unauthorized access. In the case of telemedicine systems a patient’s medical profile and other medical information is transferred over the network from the examination lab to the doctor’s office in order for the doctor to be able to perform a diagnosis. The medical information transferred across the network should be encrypted, secured and protected until it reaches its final destination. Patients’ medical profiles should be accessible by their doctors in order to support diagnosis and care, but must also be protected from other patients, medical companies and others who are not certified by the patient to access his medical data. A very important element of virtual communities is trust. Trust should be built upon the same specifications for secure data transfer and leveled access with medical information. Furthermore, trust requires a strict policy based mechanism, which defines roles, access rights and limitation among community members, as well as a flexible identification mechanism, which allows anonymity of patients, while in the same time guarantees the truthfulness of doctors’ identity and expertise.
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Introduction

The Web offers access to many databases that contain medical information, and has significantly changed the way patients seek medical help. According to recent surveys, 50% of patients access medical information via the internet before visiting their doctor and this information affects their choice of treatment (Ferguson, 2002). The assistant role of virtual communities for patients who search for medical help and advice is undeniable. Researchers, practitioners, medical industry and patients jointly contribute their findings, products and experiences, to the community’s knowledge base. The information transferred inside a health related virtual community and the stockpiled knowledge must be carefully protected from unauthorized use and validated in order to be qualitative and useful.

The issues of security, which traditionally applies to telecommunication applications, and confidentiality, which applies to healthcare applications, smoothly converge towards trust, which is the basis and apex of communities (Mezgar, 2005). This chapter examines various aspects of a health related virtual community always under the prism of information security and user protection. We provide several paradigms where patient information may be at risk and others where the integrity of the exchanged information can be questionable due to security faults.

The following section provides an introduction to the main community concepts and defines the structure of a typical health related virtual community. The critical features of communities (aim, limits, roles, services) are examined in the scope of a health related community. The third section deals with health information in general and with the security issues, which might arise when using medical services from distance. In the third section, we argue for the need to protect medical data on access, in transit and in storage, we summarize the possible security risks and state the need for an integrated security management system. The last section, uses an fictitious example in order to demonstrate the use of security policies, which can be help virtual communities to protect knowledge and information sharing and guarantee integrity.

Our objective in writing this chapter is:

  • To enlighten the public in the security and integrity issues inside community,

  • To raise the level of security awareness: a) of IT professionals, who develop, maintain or contribute to health related communities, b) of patients that reveal their privacy to a “virtual doctor” and make use of medical advices shared by other community members,

  • To propose a set of technologies, which can under circumstances ensure that patients and doctors benefit from using community services without the fear of being a pray for phishers, spammers, hackers and crackers,

  • To define the steps for building a trustful health related virtual community.

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This section provides a short introduction to the role of virtual communities in healthcare giving emphasis to the community structure and presenting the critical features of a healthcare community (aim, limits, roles, services). The section concludes with issues such as confidentiality and integrity of the community services and content.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Unauthorized Access: A malicious user manages to infiltrate the community site and gains access to all these data that the community needs to protect.

Trust: The most important factor for a long-living community. Trust can be deep, thick and swift depending on the strength of relation between community members.

Healthcare Virtual Communities: Virtual communities comprising members from the healthcare domain. Members join the community in order to discuss health related subject, give or receive medical advice and support etc.

Sensitive Personal Data: Data referring to a person, which cannot be revealed to anybody. In a health related virtual community, such data may refer to a person’s health situation, nutritional restrictions, history of examinations and surgeries etc.

Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability: Medical data is confidential, must be accurate and available during all times and is protected by Data Protection Laws.

Eavesdropping: A malicious user is spying information exchanged between community members and collects useful information.

Intrusion Prevention System: A system which is able to block any suspicious traffic based on the characteristics of the received data and guarantees authorized access to the community information and services

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Table of Contents
Preface
Athina A. Lazakidou
Acknowledgment
Athina A. Lazakidou
Chapter 1
Sanjay P. Sood, Sandhya Keeroo, Victor W.A. Mbarika, Nupur Prakash, Ankur Seth
It is claimed that seeds of ‘medical informatics’ were sown in 1960s.From this time until the 1990s experts have described the discipline as... Sample PDF
Medical Informatics: Thirty Six Peer-Reviewed Shades
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Chapter 2
D. John Doyle
E-health technology has started to become commonplace in the clinical world, with practitioners setting up their own Web sites to disseminate... Sample PDF
Medical Privacy and the Internet
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Chapter 3
Ana Ferreira, Ricardo Cruz-Correia, Luís Antunes, David Chadwick
This chapter reports the authors’ experiences regarding security of the electronic medical record (EMR). Although the EMR objectives are to support... Sample PDF
Security of Electronic Medical Records
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Chapter 4
György Surján
This chapter outlines the history of medical classifications in a general cultural context. Classification is a general phenomenon in science and... Sample PDF
The Cultural History of Medical Classifications
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Chapter 5
Spyros Kitsiou
A fundamental requirement for achieving continuity of care is commonly accepted to be the integration and interoperability of different clinical... Sample PDF
Overview and Analysis of Electronic Health Record Standards
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Chapter 6
Graham D. Bodie, Mohan J. Dutta, Ambar Basu
This chapter overviews an integrative model of e-health use that connects social disparities at the population level with individual characteristics... Sample PDF
The Integrative Model of E-Health Use
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Chapter 7
Firat Kart
In this chapter we describe a distributed e-healthcare system that uses service oriented architecture as a basis for designing, implementing... Sample PDF
A Distributed E-Healthcare System
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Chapter 8
Davor Mucic
In this chapter the author gives the short review over wide range of telepsychiatry applications. Furthermore, describes completely new and... Sample PDF
Telepsychiatry Within European E-Health
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Chapter 9
Azizah Omar
In this chapter the author discusses several marketing principles and issues related to pitfalls and successes of Telehealth application in the case... Sample PDF
Pitfalls and Successes of a Web-Based Wellness Program
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Chapter 10
Isabel de la Torre Díez
This chapter describes a Web -based application to store and exchange Electronic Health Records (EHR) and medical images in Ophthalmology... Sample PDF
A Web-Based Application to Exchange Electronic Health Records and Medical Images in Ophthalmology
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Chapter 11
Mario Ceresa
This chapter mainly focuses on biomedical knowledge representation and its use in biomedicine. It first illustrates the existent more relevant... Sample PDF
Clinical and Biomolecular Ontologies for E-Health
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Chapter 12
Roger Tait, Gerald Schaefer
The registration of corresponding patient volumes is often a pre-requisite for medical imaging tasks. Accurate alignment, however, usually results... Sample PDF
Distributed Medical Volume Registration
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Chapter 13
Bill Ag. Drougas
Internet today is one of the most useful tools for information, education and business or entertainment. It is one of the modern technology tools... Sample PDF
Electronic Commerce for Health Products Services-Problems- Quality and Future
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Chapter 14
Christos Bountis
This chapter introduces and reviews the concept of distributed knowledge management within the Healthcare environment and between Healthcare and... Sample PDF
Distributed Knowledge Management in Healthcare
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Chapter 15
Jelena Vucetic
This paper describes business and technological challenges and solutions for a successful emergency telemedicine venture called MediComm. Its... Sample PDF
An Analysis of a Successful Emergency Telemedicine Venture
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Chapter 16
Tammara Massey, Foad Dabiri, Roozbeh Jafari, Hyduke Noshadi, Philip Brisk, Majid Sarrafzadeh
This chapter introduces reconfigurable design techniques for light-weight medical systems. The research presented in this chapter demonstrates how... Sample PDF
Reconfigurable Embedded Medical Systems
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Chapter 17
Konstantinos Perakis
The evolutions in the field of telecommunications technologies, with the robustness and the fidelity these new systems provide, have significantly... Sample PDF
Third Generation (3G) Cellular Networks in Telemedicine: Technological Overview, Applications, and Limitations
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Chapter 18
Anton V. Vladzymyrskyy
This chapter introduces usage of telemedicine consultations in daily clinical practice. Author has describe process of teleconsultation, sample... Sample PDF
Telemedicine Consultations in Daily Clinical Practice: Systems, Organisation, Efficiency
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Chapter 19
Cheon-Pyo Lee, J. P. Shim
Ubiquitous healthcare has become possible with rapid advances in information and communication technologies. Ubiquitous healthcare will bring about... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Healthcare: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Hospitals
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Chapter 20
Rafael Capilla, Alfonso del Río, Miguel Ángel Valero, José Antonio Sánchez
This chapter deals with the conceptualization, design and implementation of an m-health solution to support ubiquitous, integrated and continuous... Sample PDF
Agile Patient Care with Distributed M-Health Applications
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Chapter 21
Žilbert Tafa
This chapter describes the very actual issues on mobile health (M-H) and home care (H-C) telecare systems, reviewing state of the art as well as... Sample PDF
Mobile Health Applications and New Home Care Telecare Systems: Critical Engineering Issues
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Chapter 22
José Antonio Seoane Fernández, Juan Luis Pérez Ordóñez, Noha Veiguela Blanco
This chapter presents an architecture for the integration of various algorithms for digital image processing (DIP) into web-based information... Sample PDF
A New System for the Integration of Medical Imaging Processing Algorithms into a Web Environment
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Chapter 23
Daniel Welfer
This chapter discusses the concept of open-source picture archiving and communication systems (i.e. PACS), which are low cost, and easy to... Sample PDF
PACS Based on Open-Source Software Components
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Chapter 24
Carolin Kaiser
This chapter introduces a case based reasoning (CBR) system for customizing treatment processes. The CBR system enables the generating of inpatient... Sample PDF
Case Based Reasoning for Customizing Treatment Processes
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Chapter 25
I. Apostolakis, A. Chryssanthou, I. Varlamis
A significant issue in health related applications is protecting a patient’s profile data from unauthorized access. In the case of telemedicine... Sample PDF
A Holistic Perspective of Security in Health Related Virtual Communities
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Chapter 26
Stamatia Ilioudi
This chapter aims to present various virtual learning environments for medical purposes in the world. More than ever, medical students and... Sample PDF
Virtual Learning Environments in Health
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Chapter 27
Jelena Vucetic
In the last decade, advances in medicine, telemedicine, computer technologies, information systems, Web applications, robotics and... Sample PDF
Multimedia Distance Learning Solutions for Surgery
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Chapter 28
Maria Andréia F. Rodrigues
This chapter shows how recent computing technologies such as collaborative virtual environments, high speed networks and mobile devices can be used... Sample PDF
Collaborative Virtual Environments and Multimedia Communication Technologies in Healthcare
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Chapter 29
Tiffany A. Koszalka, Bradley Olson
A major issue facing medical education training programs across the USA is the recent advent of universal mandatory duty hour limitations and the... Sample PDF
Transforming a Pediatrics Lecture Series to Online Instruction
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Chapter 30
Anastasia N. Kastania, Stelios Zimeras
In this chapter the authors investigate telehealth quality and reliability assurance. Various models and standards can be applied to assess software... Sample PDF
Quality and Reliability Aspects in Telehealth Systems
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Chapter 31
Kleopatra Alamantariotou
Recent statistics show that the World Wide Web has now grown to over 100 million sites: a phenomenal expansion in only 15 years (Mulligan 2007). It... Sample PDF
Quality of Health Information on the Internet
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Chapter 32
Kashif Hussain
This chapter provides a practical approach to computerized system validation (CSV) for the pharmaceutical organizations for the users dealing with... Sample PDF
A Practical Approach to Computerized System Validation
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Chapter 33
Bill Ag Drougas, Maria Sevdali
Ergophysiology as a division of the Physiology and helps us today to understand what happens in the human body and movement and how we are able to... Sample PDF
Organization and Evaluation of Experimental Measurements of Ergophysiological Data with the Method of SF12V2
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Chapter 34
Daniele Apiletti
Current advances in sensing devices and wireless technologies are providing a high opportunity for improving care quality and reducing the medical... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Risk Analysis of Physiological Data
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Chapter 35
Manfred Doepp
In our energy diagnostic department we noticed more and more cases with irrational stimulus-reaction- patterns and with a chaotic regulation state... Sample PDF
Chaotization of Human Systems by Technical Electromagnetic Fields
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Chapter 36
Mary Schmeida, Ramona McNeal
This chapter is an analysis of demographic variables influencing policy outcomes with online health information searches in the general U.S. public.... Sample PDF
Demographic Differences in Telehealth Policy Outcomes
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About the Contributors