Secure Federated Aggregate-Count Queries on Medical Patient Databases Using Fully-Homomorphic Cryptography [article]

Alexander T. Leighton, Yun William Yu
2021 bioRxiv   pre-print
Electronic health records (EHR) are often siloed across a network of hospitals, but researchers may wish to perform aggregate count queries on said records in entirety---e.g. How many patients have diabetes? Prior work has established a strong approach to answering these queries in the form of probabilistic sketching algorithms like LogLog and HyperLogLog; however, it has remained somewhat of an open question how these algorithms should be made truly private. While many works in the
more » ... l biology community---as well as the computer science community at large---have attempted to solve this problem using differential privacy, these methods involve adding noise and still reveal some amount of non-trivial information. Here, we prototype a new protocol using fully homomorphic encryption that is trivially secured even in the setting of quantum-capable adversaries, as it reveals no information other than that which can be trivially gained from final numerical estimation. Simulating up to 16 parties on a single CPU thread takes no longer than 20 minutes to return an estimate with expected 6% approximation error; furthermore, the protocol is parallelizable across both parties and cores, so, in practice, with optimized code, we might expect sub-minute processing time for each party.
doi:10.1101/2021.11.10.468090 fatcat:467q42hrqvcxzjs3latt77lf5u