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PSST… privacy, safety, security, and trust in health information websites

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2 Author(s)
Hamman W. Samuel ; Dept. of Computing Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada ; Osmar R. Zaïane

Various newsworthy incidents typically include breaches of security, invasion of privacy, and harm caused by false information. In the e-health domain, there has been a lot of focus on ethical issues when dealing with electronic health records (EHRs) and patient medical records (PMRs). However, equally important are the myriad of health information websites that are being used to formally or informally get medical advice online. This study surveys related work on three popular and pertinent issues in health information websites: privacy, security, and trust. Our contributions include a succinct survey of different categories of popular health information websites (,,, PatientsLikeMe. com) to gauge existing methods for handling these issues. Moreover, an agenda is proposed for understanding the three issues orthogonally via access control. Other outcomes of the study include recommendations for open problems identified in health websites, including the need for fine-grained privacy, security and trust controls.

Published in:

Proceedings of 2012 IEEE-EMBS International Conference on Biomedical and Health Informatics

Date of Conference:

5-7 Jan. 2012