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Enabling secure, distributed collaborations for adrenal tumor research.

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1
National e-Science Centre, University of Glasgow, UK.

Abstract

Many e-Health strategies rely on the secure integration of datasets that have previously resided in isolated locations, but can now in principle be accessed over the Internet. Of paramount importance in the health domain is the need for the security and privacy of data that is transmitted across these networks. One such collaboration, which spans several specialist centres across France, Germany, Italy and the UK, is ENSAT - the European Network for the Study of Adrenal Tumors. The rarity of the tumors under study means the value of accessing, aggregating and comparing data from many centres is great indeed. However this is especially challenging given that ENSAT require clinical and genomic data to be seamlessly linked, but in such a way that the information governance, ethics and privacy concerns of the patients and associated stakeholders involved are visibly satisfied. Key to this is the clear separation of clinical and genomic data sets and support for rigorous patient-identity protecting access control. This is especially challenging when such data sets exist across different organisational boundaries. In this paper we describe a prototype solution offering a security-oriented tailored portal supported by a layered encryption-driven linkage technology (VANGUARD) that offers precisely such patient-privacy protecting capabilities. We describe the architecture, implementation and use to date of this facility to support the ENSAT adrenal cancer research network.

PMID:
20543447
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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