This could be great news as how many times do medical records need to be anonymized for research, a lot. We all remember the case with the NHS and their mistake made a few months back with the records. This will be nice too if it is open source and I hope they send the software over to Medicare to use before opening up the records for the FDA to use in research. Actually this could be a nice blessing in disguise for both the FDA and Medicare if it proves to be truly functional and work well and quickly. This way as citizens we might be able to have some assurance of some HIPAA compliance at the top levels too. To manually remove the information presently by using the standard query functions can take a long time with the number of records, as you might run the query, take a weeks vacation to come back to see if the results have finished (grin), well maybe not that long, but it does take time. BD
In the July 24 issue of the journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, a team of MIT researchers describes a computer program capable of automatically deleting details from medical records that may identify patients, while leaving important medical information intact. Patient records that are to be shared within the research community must have any identifying information removed, according to the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, manual removal of identifying information is prohibitively expensive, time consuming and prone to error-constraints that have prompted considerable research toward developing automated techniques for "de-identifying" medical records.