Researchers at Birmingham University, State University of New York have come up with a new method to protect patient’s electronic health records using heartbeat.

“The ECG signal is one of the most important and common physiological parameters collected and analyzed to understand a patient’s’ health,” said Zhanpeng Jin, one of the co-authors. Traditional security measures—like cryptography or encryption—can be expensive, time-consuming, and computing-intensive. ECG signals can be used for data encryption with enhanced security and privacy with a minimum cost.

A person’s unique electrocardiograph (ECG) was used as a key to lock and unlock the personal electronic health files of a person. The identification scheme is a combination of previous work by Jin using a person’s unique brainprint for access to computers and buildings combined with cyber-security work from Guo and Chen, the co-authors of the study.

The researchers are currently working out ways to incorporate the variables such as change in ECG due to age, illness or injury, which may change how their records are accessed.

Source: Birmingham University