RECORD LINKAGE WITHOUT PATIENT IDENTIFIERS: A PROOF OF CONCEPT USING LABORATORY AND CLINICAL DATA FROM SOUTH AFRICA’S HIV PROGRAM

By  Dr. Jacob Bor  Cornelius Nattey  Nelly Jinga  Dickman Gareta  Evelyn Lauren  Dr. William Macleod  Dr. Matthew Fox  Adrian Puren  Koleka Mlisana  Dr Dorina Onoya  |  | 

Background and Objective

  • Linkage of health databases traditionally requires personal identifiers such as names and personal identification (ID) numbers, which may not be accessible for research purposes due to data privacy concerns (1).
  • The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) database contains CD4 count and viral load laboratory records used to assess patient health at presentation, monitor response to ART, track viral suppression, and detect treatment failure.
  • Facility-based patient health management system, TIER.Net, contains data on clinical events including HIV diagnosis, Pre-ART care, ART initiation ART pick-up and, other clinic visits for laboratory tests not available in the NHLS database.
  • We set out to link the NHLS and TIER.Net databases without patient identifiers to enable analyses of the full cascade of HIV care and evaluations of large-scale HIV policy interventions

Publication details

PDF