MedCo: Enabling the Secure and Privacy-Preserving Exploration of Distributed Clinical and *Omics Cohorts in the Swiss Personalized Health Network

Presenter: Prof Jean-Pierre Hubaux, School of Computer and Communication Sciences, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

MedCo: Enabling the Secure and Privacy-Preserving Exploration of Distributed Clinical and *Omics Cohorts in the Swiss Personalized Health Network

The increasing number of health-data breaches is creating a complicated environment for medical-data sharing and, consequently, for medical progress. Therefore, the development of new solutions that can reassure clinical sites by enabling privacy-preserving sharing of sensitive medical data in compliance with stringent regulations (e.g., HIPAA, GDPR) is now more urgent than ever. In this talk, we introduce MedCo, the first operational system that enables a group of clinical sites to federate and collectively protect their data in order to share them without showing them. MedCo uses collective homomorphic encryption, secure multi-party computation and a distributed ledger. The unique combination of these techniques provides decentralized trust, end-to-end data protection and high performance.

A critical feature of MedCo is that it is fully integrated within the i2b2 (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside) framework, currently used in more than 300 hospitals worldwide. Therefore, it is easily adoptable by clinical sites. Its performance is comparable to the ones of SHRINE (networked i2b2), which, in contrast, does not provide data protection guarantee.

MedCo is already deployed at the University Hospitals of Bern (Insel), Lausanne (CHUV) and Geneva (HUG). It will soon be deployed at other institutions including the University Hospitals of Basel and Zurich. The first application case will be the Swiss Personalized Oncology project (SPO).

MedCo is also the main tool used in the recently set up Secure COVID Research consortium (https://securecovidresearch.org).

More about MedCo can be found here: https://medco.epfl.ch

MedCo is the first software embodiment produced by the PHRT-funded project Data Protection and Personalized Health (https://dpph.ch). MedCo is also funded by SPHN.

Video:        YouTube

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Date of recording : Wednesday, 13 May 2020

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