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ENCRYPTING MEDICAL ANNOTATIONS IN EXPORTED IMAGES FOR PROTECTING PATIENT INFORMATION.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000130412D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-24

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

In an embodiment of this invention, an export application that converts DICOM images to JPEG & PNG images will remove the annotations from the DICOM image and convert it into the resulting images. i.e. the Annotation will be set to None and the conversion will be done to the above mentioned formats. Once the image conversion is complete, the application will pass the annotation information in a XML format and the converted image (i.e. a JPEG or a PNG image) to another application for stegging it. The stegging application will receive the image along with the annotations from the export application. Once the annotations are received, it encrypts the whole annotation using a encryption algorithm. The encrypted information is then added into the image bits and then posted onto the Web Server.

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ENCRYPTING MEDICAL ANNOTATIONS IN EXPORTED IMAGES FOR PROTECTING PATIENT INFORMATION.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001]               This invention relates generally, to security systems, and more particularly to encrypting medical annotations in exported images for protecting patient information.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002]                Images to be viewed across the Web/Internet are converted from DICOM format to more popular formats like JPEG, PNG & hosted on the Web Servers for easy access. Once the images are converted from DICOM to one of the above formats, the information present in the image is un-alterable. 

[0003]               There is no way of protecting the patient information like Patient ID, Patient Name, etc. in these type of images, making them potentially dangerous for hosting on the Web Servers. Hosting these images on the web would allow  radiologists to access them anywhere and would be very helpful in diagnosing the patients immediately in case of emergency.

[0004]               One of the existing solution is to hide the patient information in the DICOM image, i.e. anonymising the patient information and then converting them into other image formats before hosting them on the Web Server.

[0005]               The main limitation of this solution is that there is no way for a radiologist to associate the patient information to the image data. The process of anonymising the information, hosting on the web, a radiologist referring it, giving appropriate instructions and the instructions getting mapped to the exact patient and the patient getting treated is a cumbersome procedure which might lead to erroneous diagnosis, which might eventually cost the patient’s life. There are chances that there might be more than one anonynmised patient information lying on the Web Server, which can cause further troubles for the radiologist in giving immediate assistance.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0006]    Overview: Images will be created without any annotations in them. annotations will be encrypted and then inserted into the image separately and the resulting image will be uploaded to the Web Server. The application rendering it will  extract & decrypt the annotations and lay them (similar to the DICOM Viewers) on the image.

[0007]    Security: Even if the application security is compromised, the images will provide no clue of the information hidden within them. Furthermore, even if the person is able to extract the information from the image, he/she wont be able to make any sense from the image, since it will be encrypted using a proprietary algorithm.

[0008]    Technique in Detail: Export application that converts DICOM images to JPEG & PNG images will remove the annotations from the DICOM image and convert it into the resulting images. I.e. the Annotation will be set to None and the conversion will be done to the above mentioned formats. Once the image conversion is complete, the application will pass the annotation information in a XML format and the converted image (i.e. a JPEG...