A Novel Homomorphic Approach for Preserving Privacy of Patient Data in Telemedicine

Yasir Iqbal, Shahzaib Tahir, Hasan Tahir, Fawad Khan, S. Saeed, Abdullah M. Almuhaideb, Adeel Muzaffar Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Globally, the surge in disease and urgency in maintaining social distancing has reawakened the use of telemedicine/telehealth. Amid the global health crisis, the world adopted the culture of online consultancy. Thus, there is a need to revamp the conventional model of the telemedicine system as per the current challenges and requirements. Security and privacy of data are main aspects to be considered in this era. Data-driven organizations also require compliance with regulatory bodies, such as HIPAA, PHI, and GDPR. These regulatory compliance bodies must ensure user data privacy by implementing necessary security measures. Patients and doctors are now connected to the cloud to access medical records, e.g., voice recordings of clinical sessions. Voice data reside in the cloud and can be compromised. While searching voice data, a patient’s critical data can be leaked, exposed to cloud service providers, and spoofed by hackers. Secure, searchable encryption is a requirement for telemedicine systems for secure voice and phoneme searching. This research proposes the secure searching of phonemes from audio recordings using fully homomorphic encryption over the cloud. It utilizes IBM’s homomorphic encryption library (HElib) and achieves indistinguishability. Testing and implementation were done on audio datasets of different sizes while varying the security parameters. The analysis includes a thorough security analysis along with leakage profiling. The proposed scheme achieved higher levels of security and privacy, especially when the security parameters increased. However, in use cases where higher levels of security were not desirous, one may rely on a reduction in the security parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4432
Number of pages19
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


This research was funded by the SAUDI ARAMCO Cybersecurity Chair at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia, as well as by the National Centre for Cyber Security (NCCS) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan, as part of the project “Privacy-Preserving Search over Sensitive Data Stored in the Cloud”.


  • cloud
  • fully homomorphic encryption (FHE)
  • phoneme/audio searching
  • searchable encryption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'A Novel Homomorphic Approach for Preserving Privacy of Patient Data in Telemedicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this