Main Article Content
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is collaborating with a range of government and other institutions to build enduring data assets for improving analysis and informed policy outcomes. There were lessons learnt that can be shared, in addition to the architecture and linkage techniques.
The enduring assets were created by linking States’ and Territories’ health or welfare data to Commonwealth datasets such as Medicare Consumer Directory (MCD), Residential Aged Care (RAC) and National Death Index (NDI) data. The linkage was carried out by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Data Integration Services Centre (DISC).
Objectives and Approach
To create the integrated asset, the linkage spine was assembled by de-duplicating and linking MCD and NDI data. The states’ datasets and other commonwealth datasets involved in the project were linked to this spine. Each unique individual in the spine was assigned Personal Project Number (PPN) which was added to each record linked to the individual. The unlinked individuals from these datasets were de-duplicated and assigned different PPNs.
Names, dates of birth and addresses were used in probabilistic linkage process.
To enable investigators to interrogate the sequences of the events without releasing the exact dates, the central events file was created. It contains date differences for every event in the asset, calculated as the difference (in days) between event and not released “date zero”, different for each individual.
Between 96% and 99% of records in the supplied datasets were linked to the spine with linkage accuracy at least 98.5%. The linkage rates depends on the data completeness and the nature of the datasets as not all individuals accessing states’ servicers are eligible for Medicare.
Conclusion / Implications
The person-focused de-identified analytical assets allow to study journeys of the individual through Australian health and welfare systems which transcends jurisdictional boundaries.
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