A Password with Spikes: How ECG May Be Used to Protect Health Records

Researchers say heartbeat could serve as a secure 'password' for patient's electronic medical history
Researchers say heartbeat could serve as a secure 'password' for patient's electronic medical history

HealthDay News — A patient's heartbeat might one day be used to protect their electronic health records, according to a study presented recently at the IEEE Global Communications Conference in Washington, D.C.

Researchers from the State University of New York at Binghamton investigated the use of a person's unique electrocardiograph (ECG) as a way to lock and unlock electronic health records. 

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"The ECG signal is one of the most important and common physiological parameters collected and analyzed to understand a patient's health," coauthor Zhanpeng Jin, PhD, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University, said in a university news release.

"While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption. Through this strategy, the security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum cost will be added," Jin said. "This research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation secure, personalized health care."

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