The De-identification of Longitudinal and Geospatial Data

Date: July 20th 2011 from 12pm to 1pm EST

Abstract: It has often been a challenge to de-identify complex data sets such as those containing longitudinal and geospatial information. Longitudinal information makes it easier to re-identify individuals from their pattern of visits or claims over time. The traditional way to deal with geospatial information is to crop the last digit of the area identifier (for example, crop the last character of the postal code or the last digit of the ZIP code). Such cropping often leads to the removal of too much useful information, especially where location information is critical for the analysis, as in many public health applications.

In this webinar we will present new features in the PARAT de-identification tool to address these two specific situations. The webinar will start off by giving an overview of the type of data that we are concerned with and then explain why common de-identification methods will not work on these. This will be followed by a demo of the latest version of PARAT (release date 2nd August) showing how it can handle this kind of data.

Speaker: Khaled El Emam, CHEO Research Institute

Biography: Dr. Khaled El Emam is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine, a senior investigator at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, and a Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa. His main area of research is developing techniques for health data anonymization and secure disease surveillance for public health purposes. Previously Khaled was a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada, and prior to that he was head of the Quantitative Methods Group at the Fraunhofer Institute in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has co-founded two companies to commercialize the results of his research work. In 2003 and 2004, he was ranked as the top systems and software engineering scholar worldwide by the Journal of Systems and Software based on his research on measurement and quality evaluation and improvement, and ranked second in 2002 and 2005. He holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical and Electronics, King’s College, at the University of London (UK).

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