The digital safe of medical information | Technology
The accidental access of a minor to a doctor's mobile, where he involuntarily observed images of patients, made the gynecologist Armando Molina, with 32 years of career, consider how many medical data that are exchanged between professionals for internal consultations can be exposed. From that moment, he began working in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with other colleagues and computer experts in a solution that, after three years of work, has resulted in the creation of DocToDoctor, the first European application for the exchange of safe information, respecting European regulations, safeguarding patient privacy and opening the door to a fundamental tool in research.
"The original sin is to keep the information in the mobile, the device that we have at hand. Hence, a real need arises, because the patient's image is his, not the doctor's. We had to protect ourselves from the use of other messaging applications and allow us to share with certainty, "explains Molina, who points out that it is the first utility adapted to European regulations and much more complete than those existing in the US.
The application is accessed by invitation and you must prove that you are a professional collegiate. It only has its own servers to ensure that nobody, except the registered medical community, can have access to the information. "This is an ethical company," he says to explain that it is payment to support this system in front of other free where there are no guarantees of privacy and confidentiality. "On the Internet there is nothing free; You pay by revealing your behavior and sharing data of your life or profession. DocToDoctor does not sell data to third parties or advertisements. It is a system supported by users ", is detailed in the information on the web.
The data is anonymous even in the event of a security breach. The patient has to give his authorization so that the doctors make use of the information with the objective of sharing it with other professionals to discuss the disease. But this is encoded. "The clinical information can not be assigned to any specific person. In addition, there are tools to remove the identification data of photos, reports or X-rays, "explained in the application.
You can not even share images from other networks or platforms. In this way, you can never cross data that help to violate the pseudonymisation, the exclusion of any particular data that links the information to a person. In addition, everything that is shared by the web disappears in 48 hours, so that there is no trace of it or can be used with reasons unrelated to those that led to the consultation between professionals.
In the same way, a complex traceability system has been developed that identifies who shares what, how, when and with whom.
"The intention is protect the user and the relationship with the patient, the link between the one who suffers and the one who wants to help him. The goal of the quota (between 9.99 and 12.99 euros) is only to maintain the independent IT complex, "says Molina. "The companies that give free storage charge it on the other hand, with personal data, without going any further. DocToDoctor does not sell your data to other companies or insert any advertising, "explained the Internet information.
Dissociation as a key and research
Borja Adsuara, professor, advisor and consultant specialized in the information society, explains that the key to this type of applications is "dissociation", a term that considers broader than pseudonymization and refers to applied systems to avoid prevent the reidentification of a user from the stored information.
Adsuara points to a fundamental key in which Molina's team also works: to allow research based on the data collected without this entailing any risk for patients. The specialist in the information society argues that "should be forced" to the data of all institutions were decoupled (that it was impossible to associate them with a person) and were accessible because it would facilitate the investigation and avoid that every time a path is undertaken You have to start from the beginning.