A secure and efficiently searchable health information architecture

William A. Yasnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Patient-centric repositories of health records are an important component of health information infrastructure. However, patient information in a single repository is potentially vulnerable to loss of the entire dataset from a single unauthorized intrusion. A new health record storage architecture, the personal grid, eliminates this risk by separately storing and encrypting each person's record. The tradeoff for this improved security is that a personal grid repository must be sequentially searched since each record must be individually accessed and decrypted. To allow reasonable search times for large numbers of records, parallel processing with hundreds (or even thousands) of on-demand virtual servers (now available in cloud computing environments) is used. Estimated search times for a 10 million record personal grid using 500 servers vary from 7 to 33 min depending on the complexity of the query. Since extremely rapid searching is not a critical requirement of health information infrastructure, the personal grid may provide a practical and useful alternative architecture that eliminates the large-scale security vulnerabilities of traditional databases by sacrificing unnecessary searching speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cloud computing
  • Encryption
  • Health information architecture
  • Parallel processing
  • Patient-centric repository
  • Personal grid
  • Search efficiency
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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