Allocating Unique Property Reference Numbers to Patient Addresses Using A Deterministic Address-Matching Algorithm: Evaluation of Accuracy, Match Rate and Bias

Main Article Content

Gill Harper
Kambiz Boomla
John Robson
David Stables
Zaheer Ahmed
Richard Fry
Carol Dezateux

Abstract

Introduction
Representing patient-registered addresses as pseudonymised Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) enables linkage of environmental and household information to electronic health records (EHRs). However, the accuracy and potential biases in address-matching algorithm results applied to patient addresses is unknown.


Objectives and Approach
To investigate accuracy, match rate, and biases in assigning UPRNs to general practitioner (GP)-registered patient addresses for a geographically-defined UK population, using a bespoke deterministic address-matching algorithm comprising 213 rules applied in rank order of minimising false-positives, developed for the Discovery Data Service.


We ran this algorithm to match 906,220 adult patient GP-registered addresses (48% female, 47% non-White, 89% 20-64) sampled in mid-2018 from 159 GP practices in four London boroughs to Ordnance Survey’s AddressBase Premium database.


We evaluated the error rates using a gold-standard dataset. We used binary logistic regression to estimate the likelihood (Odds Ratio [OR]; 95% Confidence Intervals [CI]) of no UPRN match according to and adjusting for patient age, sex, ethnic background, deprivation, residential mobility and multiple GP registrations.


Results
96% of patient addresses were successfully assigned a UPRN. Algorithm sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive-values and F-measure were, respectively: 0.993, 0.019, 0.914, 0.204, and 0.9516.


After mutual adjustment, UPRN assignment was less likely for: men (OR: 0.87; 95%CI: 0.83,0.91); adolescents and the elderly (15-19 years: 0.57;0.43,0.77; ≥90 years: 0.39;0.18,0.84); those from Chinese ethnic backgrounds (0.87;0.8,0.91), living in the least deprived areas (0.25;0.21,0.31), or with two or more distinct UPRNs across multiple registrations (0.37;0.28,0.49); and more likely for: those from Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds (1.79;1.61,2.00), registered before 2018 (5.10;4.42,5.87), or with multiple GP registrations (2.36;1.82,3.05).


Conclusion / Implications
The Discovery open-source algorithm achieves a high accurate match rate and quantifies the demographic groups that may be under-represented among those successfully matched. This is the first time that bias in matching rates for an address-matching algorithm has been evaluated using patient-registered addresses.

Article Details

How to Cite
Harper, G., Boomla, K., Robson, J., Stables, D., Ahmed, Z., Fry, R. and Dezateux, C. (2020) “Allocating Unique Property Reference Numbers to Patient Addresses Using A Deterministic Address-Matching Algorithm: Evaluation of Accuracy, Match Rate and Bias”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1465.

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