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Computer science team developing system to ensure privacy in electronic health records

Monday, November 4, 2013

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Two University of Texas at Arlington researchers are leading a collaborative National Science Foundation project to protect personal, electronic healthcare data while ensuring that the anonymous records can be used for secondary analysis and improved health care.

Heng Huang

Heng Huang, associate professor of Computer Science & Engineering

Associate Professor Heng Huang (PI) and Professor Gautam Das (Co-PI), both of the UT Arlington Computer Science & Engineering Department, have teamed to develop the new computational model that will de-identify information in electronic health records.

Huang is the principal investigator for the $740,000 project, which includes researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and George Washington University in Washington D.C.

“It’s a fine line we’re walking,” Huang said. “We’re trying to preserve and protect sensitive data, but at the same time we’re trying to allow pertinent information to be read.”

Huang said his team will build a privacy-preserving framework that will start where the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ends. The project will produce groundbreaking algorithms and tools for identifying privacy leaks and protecting personal medical information in electronic health records.

Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the College of Engineering, said the work by Huang and Das is increasingly important in this data-driven world.

“As we expand the use of electronic health records, we must ensure that individual privacy concerns are protected,” Behbehani said. “Drs. Huang and Das will work to ensure that the data being amassed in electronic health records can be securely mined to help shape improved health care of benefit to all.”

The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,300 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. It is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Visit to learn more.


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