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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsResearch reveals de-identified patient data can be re-identified – The Melbourne Newsroom (December 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Research reveals de-identified patient data can be re-identified – The Melbourne Newsroom (December 2017)

Published/Released on December 18, 2017 | Posted by Admin on December 19, 2017 / , , , , , ,
 


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University of Melbourne researchers have found that confidential patient data can be re-identified, without decryption, prompting calls for improved and strengthened algorithms for protecting individuals’ online privacy.

A report, published today by Dr Chris Culnane, Dr Benjamin Rubinstein and Dr Vanessa Teague from the University’s School of Computing and Information Systems, outlines how de-identified historical health data from the Australian Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) released to the public in August 2016 can be re-identified using known information about the person to find their record.

“We found that patients can be re-identified, without decryption, through a process of linking the unencrypted parts of the record with known information about the individual such as medical procedures and year of birth,” Dr Culnane said.

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