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Embedding patients confidential data in ECG signal for healthcare information systems

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3 Author(s)
Ibaida, A. ; Sch. of Comput. Sci. & IT, RMIT Univ., Melbourne, VIC, Australia ; Khalil, I. ; Al-Shammary, D.

In Wireless tele-cardiology applications, ECG signal is widely used to monitor cardiac activities of patients. Accordingly, in most e-health applications, ECG signals need to be combined with patient confidential information. Data hiding and watermarking techniques can play a crucial role in ECG wireless tele-monitoring systems by combining the confidential information with the ECG signal since digital ECG data is huge enough to act as host to carry tiny amount of additional secret data. In this paper, a new steganography technique is proposed that helps embed confidential information of patients into specific locations (called special range numbers) of digital ECG host signal that will cause minimal distortion to ECG, and at the same time, any secret information embedded is completely extractable. We show that there are 2.1475 × 109 possible special range numbers making it extremely difficult for intruders to identify locations of secret bits. Experiments show that percentage residual difference (PRD) of watermarked ECGs can be as low as 0.0247% and 0.0678% for normal and abnormal ECG segments (taken from MIT-BIH Arrhythmia database) respectively.

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2010 Annual International Conference of the IEEE

Date of Conference:

Aug. 31 2010-Sept. 4 2010