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: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch406


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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