SSE – Security, Safety and Ethics




Main Objectives

Speeding up the use of ICT for health care increases the challenge for trustworthiness, security and safety of solutions and infrastructure deployed. The WG aims to promote development, education and training on the field of security and privacy in health care. Close collaboration with other EFMI WGs and beyond, as well as with IMIA WG4 as for securing their ICT solutions for health care.

Relevant Activities 2009-16

During the period 2009-2015, the SSE WG has been very active. It has organized at least one Workshop per year. All Workshops have been Joint with other EFMIs WGs, especially with EHR and PPD. The SSE also expanded joint work outside the EFMI domain and the workshop held in Istanbul 2014 was the first joint Workshop with IMIA WG SiHiS (Security in Health Information Systems). Furthermore, in 2015, SSE organized a WS with HL7 standardization organization.

For long, SSE has positioned itself towards a research-oriented group that is looking security and privacy from the viewpoint of changes in healthcare and ICT. In spite of that, practical challenges and solutions have also always been discussed.

Main topics discussed during these years include:

  • Ways and solutions to interoperable and trustworthy EHR-system and personal health systems.
  • Impacts of new healthcare and health management models (e.g. mobile health, ubiquitous health, personal health systems) to security, privacy trustworthiness.
  • Privacy and security in the reuse and secondary use of health data.
  • Solutions for trustworthy and interoperable EHR and personal health systems in global world.

Those topics reflect nicely the ongoing development in healthcare: from local to global healthcare, from data processing to information and knowledge management, regulated EHR to personal health information, from local use of patient data to networked and dynamic health data sharing, and from paternalistic patient-doctor relationship to informed and participating patient.

EFMI’s MIE 2015 in Madrid initiated a new era for SSE, since SSE’s long-term Chair, Professor Bernd Blobel, stepped down. Professor Pekka Ruotsalainen took the lead of the Working Group until MIE 2016. Then, Professor Jaime Delgado was formally elected as the new Chair, and Andrej Orel as Co-Chair.

During MIE 2016 in Munich, SSE organized the second Joint Workshop together with IMIA SiHiS WG. The title for the SSE part of the WS was “Personal health data – Privacy policy harmonization and global enforcement”. It covered balance of use of patient information and management of potential conflicts, due to privacy, between health professionals, patients and secondary users. Workshop participants analyzed privacy expectations that take place in different real-life contexts such as portable health devices and personal health records, and discussed mechanisms to balance them in such a way that global protection of health data and its meaningful use is realized simultaneously.

Plans for 2017

Key activities planned for 2017 (many of them already started in previous years), are:

  • Develop a long-term activity plan for SSE, discuss on it and accept the plan in the formal Business Meeting to be held in Manchester during MIE 2017.
    • As a part of this plan, SSE will expand current joint work to cover other EFMI WG/SIGs such as: consumer health informatics, Data mining and Big Data Analysis, HIS, Health Record Banking, Wearable Sensors in Health care and smart homes and ambient assisted living. This indicates the future role of SSE as a horizontal activity. This enables also SSE and other WGs to share expertise and domain specific ethical, security and privacy concerns.
    • Develop further the collaboration with IMIA SiHiS (Security in Health Information Systems) WG.
  • Develop the way SSE Workshops are functioning. Workshops will include research papers, theory papers, methodology and conceptual papers, all mixed to provide the widest possible view on the chosen topic. Workshops will be interdisciplinary as possible, including researchers from different institutions and research fields. An important part of the workshop’s time will be reserved for discussion, small groups or other forms of interaction.
  • Develop the visibility of SSE’s work and encourage young experts to participate more actively to work of the SSE.
  • Consider new activities, such as producing regular Bulletins devoted to specific issues (that could be the basis for future Workshops), re-activating the web site in order to be a real mean of communication between members and to the public outside, etc.
  • Organize a new Workshop form MIE 2017 in Manchester. The Workshop topic will be “Security and Privacy Standardisation in Healthcare – Impact on Patient´s New Roles”. The workshop will include four presentations lasting approximately fifteen minutes each, leaving the last thirty minutes for a discussion between presenters and attendants. The presentations will go around standards and related initiatives on security and privacy in healthcare and will focus on their connection to patients’ security, taking into account the clear current trend towards patient empowerment.


If you want to become a member of the EHR Working Group, please contact with the Chair of the Working Group