Using Record Linkage to Conform the Patient Dimension of an Antiretroviral Therapy Data Warehouse

E. Kotzé and T. McDonald (S. Africa)


Record Linkage, Data Warehouse, Data Marts, Antiretroviral Therapy


South Africa is regarded as having the most severe HIV epidemic in the world. In response to this epidemic the South African Government started with the provisioning of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in the public health sector. Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of this ART programme is of the utmost importance. A data warehousing approach was followed which integrated several independent operational sources into one data warehouse that would deliver the required strategic management information. A decision was made to break the project down into several data marts and to develop the data warehouse over a longer period of time. Most of the data marts contained a patient dimension. However, each operational data source had different unique patient identifiers for identifying a patient and in some of the operational data sources a unique patient identifier was totally absent. Furthermore, the attributes for each patient was different for each operational data source. In order to be able to link the various data marts, the patient dimensions had to be conformed. Record linkage, that was previously used to link files together, was used here to conform the patient dimensions. The result of conforming the patient dimensions was a very valuable longitudinal patient record.

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