Master Data Management (MDM)

Expand all | Collapse all

Loss of SSN

  • 1.  Loss of SSN

    Posted Wed October 21, 2020 03:46 PM

    Hello, Master Data Management Community. Question: how did you deal with the loss of SSN in your data feeds?  Did you replace it with a different ident or group of idents? I came up with my own solution but would love to hear how others have or would deal with that.



    ------------------------------
    Dwight Blubaugh
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Loss of SSN

    Posted Wed October 21, 2020 05:00 PM
    That's great question, Dwight!

    There are a lot of different ways that we can get around not having SSN as an attribute.  The trick is to think about how people use data and how that data can be treated as an unique value. There's a lot of power to something like SSN, being that it's a solid, unique identifier.  But here are a couple of attributes that can do a pretty good job of replacing it:

    Email Address: While people may have more than one email, the email address itself is a really strong identifier - it literally picks that person out of all the interwebs to find them.  The bigger issue is when emails are shared between spouses or a family.  But then again, that kind of duplication happens in SSN too when parents or spouses use the the wrong one.

    Cell Phone: Much like an email address, the Cell Phone is playing a pivotal role in finding people.  For whole generations, the concept of a landline or home phone is totally foreign.  Further, so many people take that cell phone number with them regardless of where they move.  It becomes a semi-permanent identifier.

    Credit Card: Credit or Debit cards may be on file with the Billing Department.  If so, it could be a piece of data that strongly identifies a person/patient/etc.  Of course, the person who pays may not be the patient/client/citizen in question, but leveraging this attribute in an algorithm can help pull data closer together.  Using Credit Card can get tricky because there may be policies in place that forbid the persistence of the Credit Card number, or while persisted, it may be encrypted or stored in a secure way that wouldn't give access to the MDM engine to leverage it.

    Drivers License: Obviously, if you have a lot of children in your system, this would not apply to them, but a Drivers License number is a strong way to identify someone.  I know that you're in healthcare, so if you look at the PID 20 position in the HL7 standard, it allows for a Drivers License. So from an integration standpoint, some EHR/EMR vendors may have a mechanism to collect it.

    Hashing Values: Of course there are other alternatives, which could also creatively account for things, such as leveraging a 3rd party tool to concatenate values and then hash them into a number.  For example, you could do something like join First Name, Last Name, DOB, Mother's Maiden Name, and Last 4 of Cell Phone (JEFFREYSMITH03171964PETOSKY3782) and hash it so it becomes an integer, like '7986532814'.  The odds of multiple people have the exact same combination (even twins) would be low.

    Hope that helps!
    Tyson

    ------------------------------
    Tyson Carter
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Loss of SSN

    Posted Thu October 22, 2020 12:50 PM
    That's a great solution, Dwight.  Transient and Homeless populations are most definitely a challenge.  When you have people without consistent data or even with out data at all, it most certainly makes matching and linking more challenging.  Insurance policies are a strong identifier.

    I like the creativity you've applied to this problem!

    Cheers,

    Tyson

    ------------------------------
    Tyson Carter
    ------------------------------