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Secure and efficient health data management through multiple watermarking on medical images

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The landscape of healthcare delivery and medical data management has significantly changed over the last years, as a result of the significant advancements in information and communication technologies. Complementary and/or alternative solutions are needed to meet the new challenges, especially regarding security of the widely distributed sensitive medical information. Digital watermarking is a recently established research area with many applications; nevertheless, the potential of this technology to contribute value-added services to medical information management systems has only recently started to be realized by the research community. The paper presents a review of research efforts in the area of medical-oriented watermarking and proposes a wavelet-based multiple watermarking scheme; this scheme aims to address critical health information management issues, including origin and data authentication, protection of sensitive data, and image archiving and retrieval. In accordance with the strict limitations applying to medical images, the scheme allows the definition of a region of interest (ROI) whose diagnostic value is protected, since the only additional information embedded therein aims at integrity control. The robustness of the method is enhanced through a form of hybrid coding, which includes repetitive embedding of BCH encoded watermarks. The experimental results on different medical imaging modalities demonstrate the efficiency and transparency of the watermarking scheme.

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This work has been supported by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Hellenic Ministry of Development and the European Union under the PENED program.

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Correspondence to A. Giakoumaki.

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Giakoumaki, A., Pavlopoulos, S. & Koutsouris, D. Secure and efficient health data management through multiple watermarking on medical images. Med Bio Eng Comput 44, 619–631 (2006).

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