Privacy Preserving Attribute-Focused Anonymization Scheme for Healthcare Data Publishing

J. Andrew Onesimu, J. Karthikeyan, Jennifer Eunice, Marc Pomplun, Hien Dang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Advancements in Industry 4.0 brought tremendous improvements in the healthcare sector, such as better quality of treatment, enhanced communication, remote monitoring, and reduced cost. Sharing healthcare data with healthcare providers is crucial for harnessing the benefits of such improvements. In general, healthcare data holds sensitive information about individuals. Hence, sharing such data is challenging because of various security and privacy issues. According to privacy regulations and ethical requirements, it is essential to preserve the privacy of patients before sharing data for medical research. State-of-the-art literature on privacy preserving studies either uses cryptographic approaches to protect the privacy or uses anonymizing techniques regardless of the type of attributes, this results in poor protection and data utility. In this paper, we propose an attribute-focused privacy preserving data publishing scheme. The proposed scheme is two-fold, comprising a fixed-interval approach to protect numerical attributes and an improved $l$ -diverse slicing approach to protect the categorical and sensitive attributes. In the fixed-interval approach, the original values of the healthcare data are replaced with an equivalent computed value. The improved $l$ -diverse slicing approach partitions the data both horizontally and vertically to avoid privacy leaks. Extensive experiments with real-world datasets are conducted to evaluate the performance of the proposed scheme. The classification models built on anonymized dataset yields approximately 13% better accuracy than benchmarked algorithms. Experimental analyses show that the average information loss which is measured by normalized certainty penalty (NCP) is reduced by 12% compared to similar approaches. The attribute focused scheme not only provides data utility but also prevents the data from membership disclosures, attribute disclosures, and identity disclosures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86979-86997
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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