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Open AccessFeature PaperReview

An Introduction to Probabilistic Record Linkage with a Focus on Linkage Processing for WTC Registries

1
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA 16057, USA
2
National Opinion Research Center, Boston, MA 02114, USA
3
Division of Epidemiology, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, World Trade Center Health Registry, New York, NY 11101, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6937; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17186937
Received: 3 August 2020 / Revised: 16 September 2020 / Accepted: 17 September 2020 / Published: 22 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 9/11 Health Update)
Since its post-World War II inception, the science of record linkage has grown exponentially and is used across industrial, governmental, and academic agencies. The academic fields that rely on record linkage are diverse, ranging from history to public health to demography. In this paper, we introduce the different types of data linkage and give a historical context to their development. We then introduce the three types of underlying models for probabilistic record linkage: Fellegi-Sunter-based methods, machine learning methods, and Bayesian methods. Practical considerations, such as data standardization and privacy concerns, are then discussed. Finally, recommendations are given for organizations developing or maintaining record linkage programs, with an emphasis on organizations measuring long-term complications of disasters, such as 9/11. View Full-Text
Keywords: epidemiology; disaster epidemiology; data matching; record linkage; probabilistic record linkage; interagency cooperation; 9/11 health epidemiology; disaster epidemiology; data matching; record linkage; probabilistic record linkage; interagency cooperation; 9/11 health
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Asher, J.; Resnick, D.; Brite, J.; Brackbill, R.; Cone, J. An Introduction to Probabilistic Record Linkage with a Focus on Linkage Processing for WTC Registries. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6937.

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