Search Engines May Expose Patient Health Information, ACR warns
New search engine capabilities may inadvertently expose patient identifiers and other protected health information, according to a warning from the American College of Radiology (ACR), Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), and Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) to radiologists and other medical professionals.
“The ability to use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) at scale allows programs to quickly re-generate explicit PHI that was originally burned into the image pixels,” researchers explained. “Search engines can then associate (‘index’) the image with that explicit PHI thereby making it discoverable.”
“As a result, these data can be made available and linked to other text-based information,” they added.
Healthcare providers commonly...