The use of personal medical information is governed by a complex web of laws, governmental regulations and organizational policies. All stakeholders must have the ability to assert their privacy and security authority over personal medical information and the systems that access and store that data must provide a priori guarantees of compliance and mechanisms for verifying compliance over time. Personal medical information has a number of characteristics that lead to unique security and privacy management challenges. The privacy and security policy of medical data is highly context dependent and is a function of the type of data (clinical, genomic), organization (lab, clinic, patient), the status of the patient (healthy, critically ill, dead) and the purpose of the data access (diagnostic, reference, preventative, clinical study). Personal medical information is also characterized by the lack of any centralized control. A patient does not have a single point of entry into the medical infrastructure and each organization has the ability to add data to the patient’s virtual record that is not shared with other organizations. The patient’s medical history is thus the virtual union of the data in the “network” of health care organizations and the privacy and security preferences of the patient must be enforced individually in each organizational context and collectively in the virtually aggregated context and the policies and enforcement must exist over a potentially unbounded time.
The purpose of this research is to develop an ontological framework that is capable of expressing the full semantic range of security and privacy policies that exist in both the individual and aggregated medical context and to develop an agent architecture that uses this framework to negotiate trust relationships between transferring organizations and monitors compliance as the data is spread autonomously through a chain of organizations while enabling dynamic changes to those policies.
This research is partially funded by NLM training grant: 5T15LM007359-03