Software tool aims to keep sensitive patient data more private

Software developed by computer scientists at the University of Illinois could help to ensure that sensitive data in patient medical records is not shared against a patient's wishes. The tool, according to MIT Technology Review, uses a machine-learning analysis of other medical records to help determine information--such as prior drug abuse--that a patient might want to keep private, and may eventually be able to extract such information automatically.

"Electronic health records at the moment have no facility--none--to break the record into parts," John Halamka, CIO at Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess, told Technology Review. "You either get the record or you don't."

The tool was created as part of a project supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT aimed at reducing security and privacy barriers to the use of health IT. Article