News | Mobile Devices | July 21, 2016

Greater Privacy and Security Needed to Embrace Mobile Health Tech

New paper stresses importance of strictly controlling access to protected health information before technology can be fully enjoyed

mobile health technology, mHealth, privacy and security, Computer magazine study

July 21, 2016 — A new paper published in the June issue of Computer cautions that while mobile health (mHealth) is poised for a boom, greater privacy and security measures are needed to realize the full benefits of the technology.

Over two-thirds of U.S. adults now own a smartphone, and the rise in miniaturized sensors and low-power body area networks that are used for remote health monitoring are all driving the growth of mHealth. The technology has the potential to increase healthcare quality, expand access to services, reduce costs, and improve personal wellness and public health.

To maintain the confidentiality of patient records, healthcare providers implement their own security measures; yet, consumers may not have access to such systems for their home-based devices. To ensure that protected health information (PHI) remains confidential and secure through mHealth technologies, the authors pose a series of research challenges in the areas of:

  • Data sharing and consent management;
  • Access control and authentication;
  • Confidentiality and anonymity;
  • mHealth smartphone apps;
  • Policies and compliance;
  • Accuracy and data provenance; and
  • Security technology.

Many mHealth systems have the ability to continuously collect and transmit individual health data - but to what end? Among the challenges, researchers highlight the need for mHealth systems to provide users with the opportunity to specify how their PHI will be used, to prevent mHealth systems from collecting information that extends beyond the clinical setting. To verify that a personal device reporting health-related information is in fact being used by the rightful owner, access control and continuous authentication measures, such as building biometric sensors into a device, are also needed.

In mHealth, GPS can be used to collect information about geo-exposures, movement patterns and other data about users; however, even when GPS is turned off, there's a risk that remote sensor data could disclose an individual's location and other private information. Anonymizing data would help mitigate this risk.

"We encourage colleagues with research expertise in mobile health, medical devices and secure computing to engage with these issues and help bring pervasive mobile-health technology to the world," said lead author David Kotz, the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

For more information: www.computer.org

Related Content

Text Messaging Could Help Tackle High Blood Pressure in At-Risk Patients

Image courtesy of Michigan Medicine

News | Hypertension| September 06, 2017
A new National Institutes of Health-funded hypertension trial will examine the possibility of using an emergency...
Abbott. St. Jude Medical has updated its firmware to address cybersecurity issues with its Allure Quadra MP and other EP devices

Abbott. St. Jude Medical has updated its firmware to address cybersecurity issues with its Allure Quadra MP and other EP devices.

Feature | EP Lab| August 29, 2017 | Dave Fornell
August 29, 2017 — The U.S.
MDISS Launches 'WHISTL' Network of Medical Device Security Testing Labs
News | Cybersecurity| August 23, 2017
The Medical Device Innovation, Safety and Security Consortium (MDISS) recently launched the first of more than a dozen...
HHS Unveils Improved Web Tool to Highlight Recent Health Information Breaches
News | Cybersecurity| August 21, 2017
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently launched a revised web...
Healthcare cybersecurity concerns have increased dramatically as EMRs and medical devices become more digitally connected.

Healthcare cybersecurity concerns have increased dramatically as EMRs and medical devices become more digitally connected.

Feature | Cybersecurity| August 18, 2017 | Dave Fornell
August 17, 2017 — Cybersecurity has become a growing concern in healthcare as patient data, medical systems and impla
Houston Methodist Hospital Enters Multi-Year Technology and Research Agreement With Siemens Healthineers
News | Cardiac Imaging| August 17, 2017
Houston Methodist Hospital and Siemens Healthineers have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring cutting-edge...
ScImage Awarded U.S. Government DIN-PACS IV Contract
News | PACS| August 16, 2017
ScImage Inc. was recently awarded a new DIN-PACS IV (Digital Imaging Network/Picture Archiving and Communications...
The FDA is concerned about cybersecurity of ICDs and cyber security of other medical devices.
Feature | Cybersecurity| August 16, 2017 | Dave Fornell
There is growing concern among patients and regulators that medical devices, especially implantable electrophysiology
Clarius Wireless Ultrasound Scanners Now Available With Advanced Features
News | Ultrasound Imaging| August 09, 2017
Clarius Mobile Health has released advanced features and options for its wireless handheld ultrasound scanner for...
Xavier University Announces Healthcare Artificial Intelligence Summit
News | Artificial Intelligence| August 07, 2017
Xavier University has launched the Xavier Center for Artificial Intelligence (AI), a pioneering effort to accelerate...
Overlay Init