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Risk-Based De-Identification of Health Data
May/June 2010 (vol. 8 no. 3)
pp. 64-67
Khaled El Emam, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
This article describes a method for assessing the overall risk of re-identification for a health data set and how that risk information can be used to decide how much to de-identify the data before it's disclosed. Such an approach ensures that the amount of distortion to the data is proportionate to the risk involved in disclosing a particular data set to a particular data recipient.

1. Health Informatics: Pseudonymization, ISO/TS 25237, Int'l Organization for Standardization, 2008.
2. K. El Emam and A. Fineberg, An Overview of Techniques for De-Identifying Personal Health Information, tech. report, funded by the Access to Information and Privacy Division of Health Canada, 2009.
3. S. Ochoa et al., Reidentification of Individuals in Chicago's Homicide Database: A Technical and Legal Study, tech. report, Massachusetts Inst. of Technology, 2001.
4. L. Sweeney, Computational Disclosure Control: A Primer on Data Privacy Protection, Massachusetts Inst. of Technology, 2001.
5. K. El Emam and F. Dankar, "Protecting Privacy Using k-Anonymitym," J. Am Medical Informatics Assoc., vol. 15, no. 5, 2008, pp. 627–637.
6. F. Dankar and K. El Emam, "A Method for Evaluating Marketer Re-Identification Risk," Workshop on Privacy and Anonymity in the Information Society, 2010; http://portal.acm.orgcitation.cfm?id=1754239.1754271 .
7. K. El Emam, "Method and Experiences of Risk-Based De-Identification of Health Information," Proc. Workshop on the HIPAA Privacy Rule's De-Identification Standard, Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2010; www.hhshipaaprivacy.com.
8. K. El Emam et al. "A Method for Managing Re-Identification Risk from Small Geographic Areas in Canada," BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, vol. 10, no. 18, 2010; www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6947/1018.
9. K. El Emam et al., "Evaluating Patient Re-Identification Risk from Hospital Prescription Records," Canadian J. Hospital Pharmacy, vol. 62, no. 4, 2009, pp. 307–319.

Index Terms:
privacy, healthcare, re-identification, data de-identification
Citation:
Khaled El Emam, "Risk-Based De-Identification of Health Data," IEEE Security & Privacy, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 64-67, May-June 2010, doi:10.1109/MSP.2010.103
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