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International Journal of Computerized Dentistry
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Int J Comput Dent 18 (2015), No. 1     9. Mar. 2015
Int J Comput Dent 18 (2015), No. 1  (09.03.2015)

Page 45-57, PubMed:25911828, Language: English/German


Electronic transfer of sensitive patient data
Detterbeck, Andreas Markus Wilhelm / Kaiser, Jochen / Hirschfelder, Ursula
The purpose of this study was to develop decision-making aids and recommendations for dental practitioners regarding the utilization and sharing of sensitive digital patient data. In the current environment of growing digitization, healthcare professionals need detailed knowledge of secure data management to maximize confidentiality and minimize the risks involved in both archiving patient data and sharing it through electronic channels. Despite well-defined legal requirements, an all-inclusive technological solution does not currently exist. The need for a preliminary review and critical appraisal of common practices of data transfer prompted a search of the literature and the Web to identify viable methods of secure data exchange and to develop a flowchart. A strong focus was placed on the transmission of datasets both smaller than and larger than 10 MB, and on secure communication by smartphone. Although encryption of patient-related data should be routine, it is often difficult to implement. Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) are viable standards for secure e-mail encryption. Sharing of high-volume data should be accomplished with the help of file encryption. Careful handling of sensitive patient data is mandatory, and it is the end-user's responsibility to meet any requirements for encryption, preferably by using free, open-source (and hence transparent) software.

Keywords: apps, cloud computing, data transmission, decision- making, e-mail encryption, informatics, PGP, practice management, S/MIME, security