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Heuristics for De-identifying Health Data
July/August 2008 (vol. 6 no. 4)
pp. 58-61
Khaled El Emam, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Before releasing personal health information for secondary uses, such as research or public health monitoring, organizations must de-identify the data they've collected. Several common heuristics are useful for this purpose, but they also have limitations.

1. B. Rudolph et al., "Small Numbers, Disclosure Risk, Security, and Reliability Issues in Web-Based Data Query Systems," J. Public Health Management Practice, vol. 12, no. 2, 2006, pp. 176–183.
2. H. Howe, A. Lake, and T. Shen, "Method to Assess Identifiability in Electronic Data Files," Am. J. Epidemiology, vol. 165, no. 5, 2007, pp. 597–601.
3. K. El Emam et al., "Evaluating Common De-Identification Heuristics for Personal Health Information," J. Medical Internet Research, vol. 8, no. 4, 2006, p. e28.
4. K. El Emam and F. Dankar, "Protecting Privacy Using k-Anonymity," J. Am. Medical Informatics Assoc., Sept./Oct. 2008, to appear.

Index Terms:
privacy in healthcare, de-identification, secondary use of data, personal health information, security, privacy interests
Citation:
Khaled El Emam, "Heuristics for De-identifying Health Data," IEEE Security & Privacy, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 58-61, July-Aug. 2008, doi:10.1109/MSP.2008.84
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