Lead Institution: Dartmouth

Project Leader: David Kotz

Research Progress

  • Abstract
    Information technology can improve the quality, efficiency, and cost of healthcare. We conducted an extensive literature survey, in which we examine the privacy requirements of mobile computing technologies that have the potential to transform healthcare. Such mHealth technology enables physicians to remotely monitor patients’ health, and enables individuals to manage their own health more easily. Despite these advantages, privacy is essential for any personal monitoring technology. In this survey, we developed a conceptual privacy framework for mHealth, itemize the privacy properties needed in mHealth systems, and discuss the technologies that could support privacy-sensitive mHealth systems. We end the paper with a list of open research questions.

  • Focus of the research/Market need for this project
    At the time, there was no comprehensive survey of the academic literature related to the topic of mHealth privacy. The effort to produce this survey was a key foundation to the SHARPS mHealth research, because it helped us to understand both the scientific and commercial state of the art, and the range of important open problems. By publishing it in the leading journal for computer-science survey papers, we shared our learning with the broader research community.

  • Project Aims/Goals
    Our scientific goal in this effort was to survey the existing literature, develop a clear threat model for privacy risks in mHealth devices and applications, and identify (or create) a privacy framework for mHealth applications and devices.

    Our practical goal was to provide an intellectual foundation for the privacy-oriented research underway in SHARPS and to have a broad impact on mHealth research by publishing our survey in a top-rated journal.

  • Key Conclusions/Significant Findings/Milestones reached/Deliverables
    The key outcome of this effort was a survey paper published in ACM Computing Surveys. Our hope is that this paper will help new researchers (and practitioners) enter the field with a solid background on mHealth privacy technology. The paper will speed a newcomer’s entry into mHealth-privacy research and inform product designers with an interest in privacy.

  • Materials Available for Other Investigators/interested parties
    Our paper appeared in ACM Computing Surveys in late 2012. We shared our paper, as much as a year earlier, with mHealth researchers in both industry and academia.

  • Market entry strategies
    An internal (extended) version of paper was used to drive the mHealth research agenda at Intel Labs. (This effort was originally funded by Intel and later finished under SHARPS).

Privacy in Mobile Technology for Personal Healthcare
Sasikanth Avancha, Amit Baxi, and David Kotz
ACM Computing Surveys, 45(1), November 2012