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Proc AMIA Annu Fall Symp. 1996 : 333–337.
PMCID: PMC2233179

Replacing personally-identifying information in medical records, the Scrub system.

Abstract

We define a new approach to locating and replacing personally-identifying information in medical records that extends beyond straight search-and-replace procedures, and we provide techniques for minimizing risk to patient confidentiality. The straightforward approach of global search and replace properly located no more than 30-60% of all personally-identifying information that appeared explicitly in our sample database. On the other hand, our Scrub system found 99-100% of these references. Scrub uses detection algorithms that employ templates and specialized knowledge of what constitutes a name, address, phone number and so forth.

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Selected References

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  • Barnett GO. The application of computer-based medical-record systems in ambulatory practice. N Engl J Med. 1984 Jun 21;310(25):1643–1650. [PubMed]

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