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Workshop on Standardization in E-Health
Geneva, 23-25 May 2003


The Use of X.509 in E-Healthcare

The X.509 standard defines mechanisms for providing

  • strong authentication, based on asymmetric cryptography, public key certificates and certification authorities (i.e. a Public Key Infrastructure)
  • strong authorisation, based on attribute certificates and attribute authorities (i.e. a Privilege Management Infrastructure).

This talk will briefly introduce the concepts of PKIs and PMIs as defined in the X.509 standard, and will then show how they have been used effectively in two E-Healthcare applications:

  • providing high street opticians and general practitioners with secure Internet access to a hospital diabetes system, and
  • controlling access to an electronic transfer of prescriptions systems by prescribers and dispensers, and providing patients with tokens for reduced prescription charges.

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Updated : 2003-05-06