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Demystifying probabilistic linkage: Common myths and misconceptions

Doidge, JC; Harron, K; (2018) Demystifying probabilistic linkage: Common myths and misconceptions. International Journal of Population Data Science 10.23889/ijpds.v3i1.410. Green open access

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Abstract

Many of the distinctions made between probabilistic and deterministic linkage are misleading. While these two approaches to record linkage operate in different ways and can produce different outputs, the distinctions between them are more a result of how they are implemented than because of any intrinsic differences. In the way they are generally applied, probabilistic and deterministic procedures can be little more than alternative means to similar ends—or they can arrive at very different ends depending on choices that are made during implementation. Misconceptions about probabilistic linkage contribute to reluctance for implementing it and mistrust of its outputs. By examining some common misconceptions about probabilistic linkage and its difference from deterministic linkage, we highlight the potential impact of design choices on the outputs of either approach. We hope that better understanding of linkage designs will help to allay some concerns about probabilistic linkage, and will help data linkers to tailor either procedure to produce outputs that are appropriate for their intended use.

Type: Article
Title: Demystifying probabilistic linkage: Common myths and misconceptions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.23889/ijpds.v3i1.410
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.23889/ijpds.v3i1.410
Language: English
Additional information: © The Authors. Open Access under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/deed.en)
Keywords: Medical record linkage, data linkage, data matching, electronic health records, probabilistic linkage, deterministic linkage, record linkage
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050423
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