White Papers

Overview of Universal Patient Key’s De-Identification and Linking Technology for Structured Data

Universal Patient Key (UPK) is firmly committed to advancing healthcare through data analytics while protecting patients’ privacy. Before UPK came along, private patient information was protected simply by removing it wholesale. If it wasn’t there, the thinking went, it couldn’t be exposed. Unfortunately, if a patient’s identifying information was removed, it also meant that there was no way to combine their healthcare data in one file (e.g. their hospital stay) with their data in another file (e.g. their pharmacy prescriptions after they were discharged). At UPK, we take a different approach. We’ve designed cutting-edge, patent-pending, de-identification software that replaces private patient information with an encrypted “token”, a 44-character unique placeholder that can’t be reverse-engineered to reveal the original information. Furthermore, our software can create these same patient-specific tokens in any data set, which means that now Data Set A can be combined with Data Set B using the patient tokens to match one record to another without ever sharing the underlying patient information.

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Matching Accuracy of Patient Tokens in De-Identified Health Data Sets:

A False Positive Analysis

One of the most important and early tasks all healthcare analytics organizations face is the need to protect private personal information. This task is made harder by the need to establish an adequate understanding of an individual’s or a group’s health care status by combining disparate data from multiple sources. Encrypted patient tokens allow matching of patient records across separate data sets without exposure of the underlying protected health information (PHI). This study assesses the matching accuracy of two common token schemes to understand how many matches were unique, and how many were false positives.

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Mortality Data in Healthcare Analytics:

Sourcing Robust Data In a HIPAA-Compliant Manner

The incorporation of mortality data into healthcare data sets allows fraud prevention, accurate billing and benefits distribution, and true outcome analysis (especially in fatal disease areas like oncology, where survival is a key endpoint). The net effect of adding mortality data is strengthening identity protection, reducing healthcare costs, and improving health treatments and care delivery. However, most healthcare data streams do not inherently capture mortality, and changes to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Death Master File (DMF), a leading public data source for mortality records, have dramatically reduced this file’s coverage from 2.5 million lives in 2010 to 460,000 lives in 2016. This study discusses options for filling the gaps in DMF data coverage, and presents a solution for joining this mortality data to healthcare data sets in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)-compliant manner.

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Connecting the Dots in Specialty Pharmacy Data:

Using Encrypted Patient Tokens for HIPAA-Compliant Merging of Specialty Data Sets

The rapidly expanding specialty pharmacy market has created unique challenges for pharmaceutical manufacturers looking to obtain dispensing, adherence, and switching data for specialty drugs. Access to timely, anonymized, longitudinal patient data forms the foundation of brand analytics within pharmaceutical manufacturers. While there are numerous syndicated sources for retail pharmacy data for traditional drugs, a comparable source for specialty drug data does not exist. Strong growth within the fragmented specialty pharmacy industry means that specialty drug data are now spread across a large number of pharmacies that include independent pharmacies, retailers/chains, hospitals, health plans, and pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs). In this landscape, the complete map of patient behavior is distributed across records residing in multiple specialty pharmacies. This whitepaper examines difficulties in merging specialty data from distinct specialty pharmacies, and offers a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)-compliant solution to de-identifying and merging specialty pharmacy data for manufacturer analysis.

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