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Health Informatics J. 2008 Mar;14(1):5-15. doi: 10.1177/1460458208088855.

Record linkage software in the public domain: a comparison of Link Plus, The Link King, and a 'basic' deterministic algorithm.

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Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, PO Box 45330, Olympia, Washington 98504-5330, USA.


The study objective was to compare the accuracy of a deterministic record linkage algorithm and two public domain software applications for record linkage (The Link King and Link Plus). The three algorithms were used to unduplicate an administrative database containing personal identifiers for over 500,000 clients. Subsequently, a random sample of linked records was submitted to four research staff for blinded clerical review. Using reviewers' decisions as the 'gold standard', sensitivity and positive predictive values (PPVs) were estimated. Optimally, sensitivity and PPVs in the mid 90s could be obtained from both The Link King and Link Plus. Sensitivity and PPVs using a basic deterministic algorithm were 79 and 98 per cent respectively. Thus the full feature set of The Link King makes it an attractive option for SAS users. Link Plus is a good choice for non-SAS users as long as necessary programming resources are available for processing record pairs identified by Link Plus.

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