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Comparison of probabilistic and deterministic record linkage in the development of a statewide trauma registry.

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Department of Surgery, Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, USA.


We have been working to develop a statewide injury surveillance system using not only hospital-based trauma registries but also other sources of data (including ambulance run reports, hospital discharge abstracts, and death certificates). For this purpose, a commercially available probabilistic matching program was compared to the deterministic program described previously. Using the same data preprocessing and linkage strategy, we programmed the probabilistic software to perform the matching step and compared the results with those obtained from the previously tested program. The outcomes using our data were similar, but we expect the probabilistic program to be more adaptable for general use, especially if large amounts of data must be linked.

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