MIT Laboratory for Computer Science Clinical Decision Making Group
Children's Hospital Informatics Program

Peter Szolovits
Mojdeh Mohtashemi
Min Wu
Patrick Cody
Lik Mui
Stanley Trepetin
Isaac Kohane

As more and more medical information comes to reside in on-line databases, there is a natural concern for the privacy and confidentiality of patients whose data are being collected and shared.  We believe that the appropriate application of technology can simultaneously help, to make agreed-on sharing of data easier and to prevent inappropriate disclosure of private data.  This project is aimed to developing such methods.

Publications and Sources

Our fundamental approach and an example of how it might be applied to clinical trials is described in

Kohane, I. S., Dong, H.-M., and Szolovits, P. (1998). Health information identification and de-identification toolkit. Proc AMIA Symp: 356-60.

We implemented a set of tools to support multi-center clinical trials, focusing on confidentiality and security of the study data, ease of installation and use of the tools, and the institutional framework in which such tools would be used.  This system focuses on

Min Wu's Master's thesis describes this effort in detail:

Wu, M. (2001). Secure Health Information Sharing System (SHARE). M.Eng. Thesis, MIT Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. (Postscript version)

This work also forms the basis for a poster presentation at the AMIA 2001 Fall meeting, and a video of a demonstration of the system and its capabilities presented at the Clinical Trials Expo organized at the same meeting.

Wu, M., Mui, L., Mohtashemi, M., and Szolovits, P. (2001). Secure Health Information Sharing System: SHARE. [poster] Proc AMIA.

Wu, M., et al. (2001) Slide presentation for AMIA 2001 poster session.

Szolovits, P., et al. (2001) Video Presentation, Secure Health Information Sharing System (2001).  Note:This video is in Quicktime format. You may need to download Quicktime in order to watch it.

Patrick Cody's Master's thesis contributes a technical assessment of security requirements and technologies for SHARE and similar systems, and outlines steps toward the automatic coordination of different technology choices:

Cody, P. M. (2003). Dynamic Security for Medical Record Sharing. M.Eng. Thesis, MIT Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.


We plan to continue research in this area.  Currently, we seek potential collaborators who run actual multi-center clinical trials to identify needed additional functionality and practical issues.  We are also looking at other similar record-keeping and sharing situations, including maintenance of patient-specific genomic records.

9/14/2003 -- Peter Szolovits

CDM Projects