Part 1, Conversation with Martin Rosner on Security Aspects of Continua Health Alliance Architecture

Posted: June 8, 2011 in Expert Q&A, Industry Commentary, Mobile
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This week, we’re featuring  Martin Rosner, director of standardization at Philips – North America.  Rosner chairs Continua Health Alliance security and privacy discussions and contributes to relevant security initiatives within the healthcare industry. Continua Health Alliance is a non-profit, open industry organization of more than 230 healthcare and technology vendors focused on delivering interoperable health solutions.

VPN Haus: What is Continua’s role in the telehealth domain?

Martin Rosner: Continua’s focus is on standardizing interoperable personal connected health devices and services.  We have a unique architecture that enables electronic communication of personal health information between the consumer and the health management organization.

Click on image for larger view

VPN Haus: Are there security concerns with transferring this data?

Rosner: Often, this sensitive information includes vital signs of the remote patient so security and privacy concerns must be addressed. We’re working to address these concerns by enabling point-to-point and end-to-end mechanisms to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the communicated health information.

VPN Haus: What are you doing to secure data transfer?

Rosner: We dedicated a group of pros to tackle this issue, referred to as the End-to-End Security Task Force. This team focuses mainly on identifying appropriate standards to address transaction level security.  In 2009, we issued our Version 1 architectural specifications which addressed security and privacy issues focused on Personal Area Network (PAN) and Health Record Network (HRN) interfaces. We updated that with last year’s release of the Version 2010 guidelines, adding significant security features for the Wide Area Network (WAN) and Local Area Network (LAN) interfaces.  For the most part, this addressed point-to-point security issues thereby ensuring that the delivery of sensitive health information across our architecture preserves confidentiality, integrity and authenticity. Our current scope is to address several security issues from the device to the gateway to the electronic health record with our 2011 Design Guidelines scheduled for release later this year, namely providing security-related specifications focusing on identity management, integrity and data origin authentication, and consent management.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of our conversation with Rosner.

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