Advanced research on secure transmission of medical images

SRM University-AP promotes translational research that can add value to society making lives better. Following the tradition, Dr Priyanka Singh, Assistant Professor and her PhD student Ms Jyothsna Devi from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering have published their recent research work “Region-based Hybrid Medical Image Watermarking Scheme for Robust and Secured Transmission in IoMT” in ‘IEEE Access journal’ (Impact Factor of 3.36).

Dr Priyanka’s research focuses on the healthcare industry that is rapidly transforming medical images into ones that operate in real-time environments (IoMT, IoT, Cloud and so on). The research is proposed to address security and integrity issues in medical image transmission on IoT and edge healthcare applications with a lossless reversible region-based MIW scheme.

In this era of technological advancement, medical images and patient information are widely transmitted through a public transmission channel on the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) applications. While sharing medical images or electronic patient records (EPR) through a public network, they can get tampered with or manipulated, leading to the wrong diagnosis by the medical consultants. Confidentiality of the patient record is also a major concern. Thus, it is very important to ensure the authenticity, authorisation, integrity, and confidentiality of the information during transmission.


With the growth in Internet and digital technology, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and Telemedicine have become buzzwords in healthcare. A large number of medical images and information are shared through a public network in these applications. This paper proposes a region-based hybrid Medical Image Watermarking (MIW) scheme to ensure the authenticity, authorisation, integrity, and confidentiality of the medical images transmitted through a public network in IoMT. In the proposed scheme, the medical image is segmented into Region of Interest (RoI) and Region of Non-Interest (RoNI).

RoI tamper detection and recovery bits are embedded in RoI to ensure the integrity of the medical image. RoI is watermarked using adaptive Least Significant Bit (LSB) substitution with respect to the hiding capacity map for higher RoI imperceptibility and accuracy in tamper detection and recovery. Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is compressed using Huffman coding and encrypted using a pseudo-random key (secret key) to provide higher confidentiality and payload. Encrypted EPR, QR code of hospital logo and RoI recovery bits are embedded in RoNI using Discrete Wavelet Transform-Singular Value Decomposition (DWT-SVD) hybrid transforms to achieve a robust watermark.

The proposed scheme is tested under various geometric and non-geometric attacks such as filtering, compression, rotation, salt and pepper noise and shearing. The evaluation results demonstrate that the proposed scheme has high imperceptibility, robustness, security, payload, tamper detection, and recovery accuracy under image processing attacks. Therefore, the proposed scheme can be used in the transmission of medical images and EPR in IoMT. The relevance of the proposed scheme is established by its superior performance in comparison to some of the popular existing schemes.

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