Privacy Matters: Detecting Nocuous Patient Data Exposure in Online Physician Reviews

  • Frederik S. BäumerEmail author
  • Nicolai Grote
  • Joschka Kersting
  • Michaela Geierhos
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 756)


Consulting a physician was long regarded as an intimate and private matter. The physician-patient relationship was perceived as sensitive and trustful. Nowadays, there is a change, as medical procedures and physicians consultations are reviewed like other services on the Internet. To allay user’s privacy doubts, physician review websites assure anonymity and the protection of private data. However, there are hundreds of reviews that reveal private information and hence enable physicians or the public to identify patients. Thus, we draw attention to the cases when de-anonymization is possible. We therefore introduce an approach that highlights private information in physician reviews for users to avoid an accidental disclosure. For this reason, we combine established natural-language-processing techniques such as named entity recognition as well as handcrafted patterns to achieve a high detection accuracy. That way, we can help websites to increase privacy protection by recognizing and uncovering apparently uncritical information in user-generated texts.


Physician reviews User privacy Nocuous data exposure 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederik S. Bäumer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicolai Grote
    • 1
  • Joschka Kersting
    • 1
  • Michaela Geierhos
    • 1
  1. 1.Heinz Nixdorf InstituteUniversity of PaderbornPaderbornGermany

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