City Research Online

An open platform for personal health record apps with platform-level privacy protection

Van Gorp, P., Comuzzi, M., Jahnen, A. , Kaymak, U. & Middleton, B. (2014). An open platform for personal health record apps with platform-level privacy protection. Computers in Biology and Medicine, 51, pp. 14-23. doi: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2014.04.019


One of the main barriers to the adoption of Personal Health Records (PHR) systems is their closed nature. It has been argued in the literature that this barrier can be overcome by introducing an open market of substitutable PHR apps. The requirements introduced by such an open market on the underlying platform have also been derived. In this paper, we argue that MyPHRMachines, a cloud-based PHR platform recently developed by the authors, satisfies these requirements better than its alternatives. The MyPHRMachines platform leverages Virtual Machines as flexible and secure execution sandboxes for health apps. MyPHRMachines does not prevent pushing hospital- or patient-generated data to one of its instances, nor does it prevent patients from sharing data with their trusted caregivers. External software developers have minimal barriers to contribute innovative apps to the platform, since apps are only required to avoid pushing patient data outside a MyPHRMachines cloud. We demonstrate the potential of MyPHRMachines by presenting two externally contributed apps. Both apps provide functionality going beyond the state-of-the-art in their application domain, while they did not require any specific MyPHRMachines platform extension.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in <Journal title>. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Computers in Biology and Medicine, Volume 51, 1 August 2014, Pages 14–23,
Publisher Keywords: Apps, Architecture, Personal health records, Privacy, Trust
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of An Open Platform for Personal Health Record Apps with.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login