NewsForge: FOSS Closes Patient Privacy Gap for Researchers

“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…”