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A model-driven privacy compliance decision support for medical data sharing in Europe

Solomonides, Tony; Casassa Mont, Marco; Boussi Rahmouni, Hanene; Shiu, Simon; Rahmouni, M.


Tony Solomonides

Marco Casassa Mont

Hanene Rahmouni
Associate Lecturer - FET CSCT - UCSC0000

Simon Shiu

M. Rahmouni


Objectives: Clinical practitioners and medical researchers often have to share health data with other colleagues across Europe. Privacy compliance in this context is very important but challenging. Automated privacy guidelines are a practical way of increasing users' awareness of privacy obligations and help eliminating unintentional breaches of privacy. In this paper we present an ontology-plus-rules based approach to privacy decision support for the sharing of patient data across European platforms. Methods: We use ontologies to model the required domain and context information about data sharing and privacy requirements. In addition, we use a set of Semantic Web Rule Language rules to reason about legal privacy requirements that are applicable to a specific context of data disclosure. We make the complete set invocable through the use of a semantic web application acting as an interactive privacy guideline system can then invoke the full model in order to provide decision support. Results: When asked, the system will generate privacy reports applicable to a specific case of data disclosure described by the user. Also reports showing guidelines per Member State may be obtained. Conclusion: The advantage of this approach lies in the expressiveness and extensibility of the modelling and inference languages adopted and the ability they confer to reason with complex requirements interpreted from high level regulations. However, the system cannot at this stage fully simulate the role of an ethics committee or review board. © Schattauer 2011.


Shiu, S., Casassa Mont, M., Solomonides, T., Boussi Rahmouni, H., Solomonides, T., Casassa Mont, M., …Rahmouni, M. (2011). A model-driven privacy compliance decision support for medical data sharing in Europe. Methods of Information in Medicine, 50(4), 326-336.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Dec 19, 2011
Journal Methods of Information in Medicine
Print ISSN 0026-1270
Publisher Thieme Publishing
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 4
Pages 326-336
Keywords EU data protection directive, health-grid, semantic web technologies
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article is not an exact copy of the original published article in Methods of Information in Medicine. The definitive publisher-authenticated version of "Boussi Rahmouni, H., Solomonides, T., Casassa Mont, M., Shiu, S. and Rahmouni, M. (2011) Privacy compliance decision support for medical data sharing in Europe: A rule–based approach. Methods of Information in Medicine, 50 (4). pp. 326-336" is available online at:


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