SUNY Binghamton studies a new type of password — patient heartbeats

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Can a patient's heartbeat be used as the password for their electronic health records? Maybe, according to SUNY Binghamton researchers in New York.

The researchers, who presented their research at the annual IEEE Global Communications Conference in Washington, D.C., encrypted patient data, using the patient's electrocardiograph as the key to access their files. An electrocardiograph uses a biosensor to measure the electrical patterns of an individual's heart.

The researchers hope this type of encryption will be less expensive, time-consuming and computing-intensive compared with more traditional security measures, such as cryptography. However, since a patient's electrocardiograph changes due to age, illness and injury, the researchers are continuing to study how to effectively leverage this technology.

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