6 February 2019

Research pick: Twofish to protect you medical records - "An efficient two stage encryption for securing personal health records in cloud computing"

Electronic health records (EHRs) are becoming more and more prevalent. There is thus an increased risk of data leaks, breaches or other ways in which personal and private medical information might be compromised. As such, a team from India has now described an efficient two-stage encryption for securing personal health records stored “in the cloud”.

KrishnaKeerthi Chennam and Lakshmi Muddana of Gitam University, in Hyderabad, explain how accessibility to remote servers for the storage of huge amounts of data – the storage aspect of cloud – computing is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to on-site data storage. Given the vast amounts of medical information stored in patient records, this is a useful alternative for any healthcare facility. The cloud approach also means that patient EHRs are more readily available to a healthcare worker regardless of their location, whether with the patient in their home, at the doctor’s surgery, in hospital, in an ambulance en route to another site, or perhaps even at the scene of an accident.

Regardless there is a critical need for EHRs to be safe from the prying eyes of third parties whether simply other members of the public, unconnected health workers or those with malicious intent.
The team explains how their approach uses a hierarchical clustering algorithm that determines the different user roles associated with the EHRs. Once clustering is done twofish-based encryption algorithm is used to lock down the data. The team’s novel approach to encryption has lower encryption and decryption times than other approaches.

Chennam, K. and Muddana, L. (2018) ‘An efficient two stage encryption for securing personal health records in cloud computing’, Int. J. Services Operations and Informatics, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp.277–296.

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