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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 6, pp 439–442 | Cite as

Development of a Computer Linkage System for a Blood Recipient Notification Program in Nova Scotia

  • Susie ElSaadanyEmail author
  • Maura Ricketts
  • Antonio Giulivi
Article

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the potential uses of computer-assisted record linkage in the surveillance of infectious diseases, using the Nova Scotia blood recipient notification program as the example.

Methods: We developed a computer-assisted, multiple-pass, probabilistic record linkage to link records for blood recipients identified by the Nova Scotia notification program (Nova Scotia Phase I Blood Bank File information) with corresponding Nova Scotia Health Card Registration File records to obtain current mailing addresses to contact potentially living recipients. We used variables available from both files (e.g., name, date of birth, gender, and health care registration number) to link records, after eliminating duplicates/deceased cases.

Results: Among 23,925 eligible records in the Nova Scotia Phase I Blood Bank File (1984–1990), there were 1,818 (7.8%) duplications and 8,675 deceased cases, leaving 13,432 cases for linkage. 8,713 (65%) cases were successfully linked to the 1998 Health Card Registration Data File for current mailing addresses.

Interpretation: Multiple-pass linkage seems acceptable for maximizing detection of correctly matched records for lookback projects. To overcome quality/lack of information obstacles, future lookback linkages should explore the use of supplementary data files (tax files, voter lists, license files, other provincial databases) to obtain most current addresses.

Résumé

Objectifs: Évaluer les possibilités d’utilisation de la liaison de dossiers assistée par ordinateur pour la surveillance des maladies infectieuses, en utilisant comme exemple le programme de notification des personnes ayant reçu du sang mis en oeuvre par la Nouvelle-Écosse.

Méthodes: Le système informatique élaboré pour le maillage des dossiers probabilistes de personnes ayant reçu du sang cernées par le programme de notification de la Nouvelle-Écosse (N.-É.) a utilisé les renseignements du fichier de la banque de sang de la phase I de la N.-É. et des dossiers correspondants du fichier d’enregistrement des cartes santé de la N.-É. afin d’obtenir les adresses postales actuelles de ces personnes qui vivent peut-être encore. On s’est servi des variables disponibles dans les deux fichiers pour mailler les dossiers, après avoir éliminé les cas en double/ de décès.

Résultats: Parmi les 23 925 dossiers admissibles dans le fichier de la banque de sang de la phase I (1984–1990), on a compté 1 818 (7,8%) de doubles et 8 675 cas de décès, ce qui laisse 13 432 cas de maillage. 8 713 (65%) cas ont été maillés avec succès au fichier des données d’inscription de la carte santé de 1998, obtenant ainsi les adresses postales actuelles.

Interprétation: Le maillage multipasse semble acceptable pour maximiser la détection des dossiers assortis correctement pour les projets futurs de recherche de dons antérieurs. Afin d’éliminer les obstacles relatifs à la qualité ou au manque d’information, les maillages futurs relatifs à la recherche de dons antérieurs pourraient explorer l’utilisation de fichiers de données supplémentaires (fichiers fiscaux, listes électorales, fichiers de permis, autres bases de données provinciales) afin d’obtenir l’adresse actuelle la plus récente.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susie ElSaadany
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maura Ricketts
    • 2
  • Antonio Giulivi
    • 1
  1. 1.Statistics and Risk Assessment Section, Health Care Acquired Infections DivisionHealth CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.World Health OrganizationGenevaSwitzerland

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