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HIPAA mandates that all healthcare data accessed or transmitted over open communications systems such as the Internet be encrypted. While encrypting a digital x-ray before storage and decrypting it before viewing will not affect a hospital's workflow, the workflow consequences of encryption on the large medical images (a single 500-slice MRI produces a 68 MB file) typically in use by a radiology department were feared but unknown. We conducted performance studies of four candidate encryption algorithms operating in a .NET environment, and then used those results in a workflow model of our hospital's radiology department to predict the impact of adding encryption to the workflow scenario.
Date of Conference: 21-24 Aug. 2003