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Scientists at Binghamton University, State University of New York, have designed a new method to secure personal electronic health records utilizing a patient’s heartbeat.

Traditional security methods like encryption and cryptology are complex, time-consuming and expensive. The researchers wanted to develop a unique, simple, cost-effective, and available way to safeguard sensitive personal health data.

So, they encrypted data using a patient’s unique electrocardiograph (ECG), which is the measurement of the heart’s electrical activity. This easy encryption method serves as a key to unlock and lock the files.

This identification scheme is a blend of two previous works.   The first one is the work done by Assistant Professor Guo and Associate Professor Yu Chen on cyber-security. The second is by Assistant Professor Zhanpeng Jin on using an individual’s unique brainprint for accessing buildings and computers. 

A paper titled "A Robust and Reusable ECG-based Authentication and Data Encryption Scheme for eHealth Systems” discusses this method. "This research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation secure, personalized healthcare," said Jin.

Since an individual’s ECG may vary due to injury, illness or age, scientists are now working on methods to include these variables into the scheme.

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