Securing EPR Data Using Cryptography and Image Watermarking

Securing EPR Data Using Cryptography and Image Watermarking

Youssef Zaz (Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Morocco), Lhoussain El Fadil (Ibn Zohr University, Morocco) and Mohamed El Kayyali (Universidad Technologica del Peru, Peru)
DOI: 10.4018/jmcmc.2012040106
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This paper demonstrates new methodology to improve security and avoid data overlapping between patients records which are defined as Electronic Patient Records (EPR), a combination of digital watermarking techniques and cryptography are used to ensure the non-separation of EPR and medical images during communications within open networks. The EPR data is encrypted, by a symmetric key algorithm based on an Elliptic Curve Cryptosystem (ECC), and inserted in liberated zone of the Least Significant Bit plan (LSB) of the medical image by compressing the original one using the Huffman coding. The proposed method improves security issues and reduces the computation cost related to data encryption and decryption.
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2. Requirements Storage Needs Of The Epr In Medical Images

Most watermarking techniques counting on modify and hence distort the host image in order to embed the given data. In many applications, loss of image fidelity is not prohibitive as long as the original and modified images are perceptually equivalent. In medical applications, where the need for authentication is often paramount, there are typically stringent constraints on data fidelity that prohibit any distortion during the watermarking process. In certain cases, artifacts in a patient’s diagnostic image may cause errors in diagnosis and treatment with possible life threatening consequences (Zain et al., 2009).

A well-known medical image standard DICOM (Digital Image Communication in Medicine) can be used to insert EPR data in to an image, but this method has a risk of data loss in case of anonymization process. Even Munch et al. (2004) proposed a web based method to integrate the data and images but the best way of integration of EPR and medical images is the hiding EPR in images using watermarking techniques.

The frequently used approach in spatial domain is Least Significant Bit (LSB) insertion. Since the least significant bit-plane does not contain visually significant information, it can be easily replaced by a large amount of watermark bits. But this technique doesn’t satisfy medical requirements in terms of data integrity. In order to use it, we propose to compress the original LSB bit-plan using lossless technique that offers high level compression.

Run Length Encoding (RLE) is a well known lossless compression algorithm; it only offers decent compression ratios with files that contain lots of repetitive data. Several other compression techniques exist in the literature; we opt for Huffman coding algorithm (Hu & Chang, 2000) which offers a reasonable compression rate and it is adapted to binary data exiting in the LSB bit-plan.

To ensure high security, data encryption is unavoidable. But nowadays, online diagnosis is widely used, which means we should find an efficient and speedy encryption algorithm.

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