The Unique Records Portfolio: A guide to resolving duplicate records in health information systems
Increasing demand to provide integrated data requires public health programs and healthcare provider organizations to adopt a strategic approach to uniquely identifying individuals whose data are held in disparate data sources or information systems. Matching person-specific data from multiple sources to produce linked data sets or merged records is fundamental to the quality of data and the integrity of the information being provided by the integrated systems. Linking data from disparate information systems forces an organization to be explicit about the intended uses of the linked data, to understand the risks associated with inaccurately matching data, and to establish a strategy that supports the goals of the record matching measured against its inherent complications and risks. The strategies developed to address duplicate records are often referred to as deduplication strategies. The concepts, examples, and tools in The Unique Records Portfolio are intended to help public health agencies and healthcare organizations address the deduplication challenge, specifically articulating the challenges and solutions to developing deduplication strategies, and describing the implications that various approaches have on data use.