Privacy-preserving record linkage in healthcare

Date: November 24th 2010 from 12pm to 1pm EST

Abstract: Record linkage is the task of identifying records from disparate data sources that refer to the same individual. Specific applications in health care are sharing patient data for research and aggregating patient data from multiple providers to improve patient care. With respect to the use of patient data for research, if multiple institutions submit data to a centralized repository for research, identifying and merging the records referring to the same individual is essential to ensure accurate statistical analyses. With respect to improving patient care, aggregating all records for a specific patient, that are inherently stored in a fragmented form across multiple providers, provides a more complete view of a patient’s medical history and can minimize the replication of services. However, medical data sharing policies prevent the disclosure of patient identifiers, which makes record linkage difficult. Therefore, a variant of record linkage, known as privacy-preserving record linkage, is required such that records referring to the same individual are identified without ever revealing the content of the records. In this presentation, I will discuss the steps required to perform privacy-preserving record linkage and discuss open research challenges.

Speaker: Elizabeth Ashley Durham, Vanderbilt University

Biography: Elizabeth Ashley Durham is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University and is advised by Dr. Bradley Malin. She is a member of the Health Information Privacy Laboratory that focuses on data privacy and management issues in biomedical research and clinical management systems. Elizabeth’s specific research is in the area of privacy-preserving record linkage — the task of identifying records, from disparate sources, that refer to the same individual — without revealing the individual’s identity. She holds a M.S. in Biomedical Informatics from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Download the slides here.