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NewsForge: FOSS Closes Patient Privacy Gap for Researchers

Apr 16, 2006, 17:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jay Lyman)

"Two new open source software projects are ready to wipe patient histories clean of personal information so researchers can learn from medical cases without endangering privacy.

"One of the GPLed software programs, HMS Scrubber version 1.0, was recently able to remove more than 98 percent of identifiers--such as name, address, and Social Security number--from 1,254 pathology reports processed from three hospitals. Developed by a team from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and other American institutions, the software holds promise beyond pathology in nearly all medical records, which are integral to research, but are full of privacy pitfalls, says Bruce Beckwith, a Beth Israel doctor and developer of the new software..."

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