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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 487-508
Research Article

Health Records and the Cloud Computing Paradigm from a Privacy Perspective

Christian Stingl and Daniel Slamanig

Department of Medical Information Technology, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS), Klagenfurt, Austria

Received 1 July 2010; Accepted 1 June 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With the advent of cloud computing, the realization of highly available electronic health records providing location-independent access seems to be very promising. However, cloud computing raises major security issues that need to be addressed particularly within the health care domain. The protection of the privacy of individuals often seems to be left on the sidelines. For instance, common protection against malicious insiders, i.e., non-disclosure agreements, is purely organizational. Clearly, such measures cannot prevent misuses but can at least discourage it. In this paper, we present an approach to storing highly sensitive health data in the cloud whereas the protection of patient's privacy is exclusively based on technical measures, so that users and providers of health records do not need to trust the cloud provider with privacy related issues. Our technical measures comprise anonymous communication and authentication, anonymous yet authorized transactions and pseudonymization of databases.