Following Up Crack Users after Hospital Discharge Using Record Linkage Methodology: An Alternative to Find Hidden PopulationsReport as inadecuate

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BioMed Research International - Volume 2015 2015, Article ID 973857, 5 pages -

Research Article

Center for Drug and Alcohol Research, Clinics Hospital of Porto Alegre, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, 400 Professor Alvaro Alvim Street, 90420-020 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

Information Technology Department of the Unified Health System, National Ministry of Health, Brazil

Received 7 May 2015; Accepted 4 August 2015

Academic Editor: Handan Wand

Copyright © 2015 Veralice Maria Gonçalves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents the probabilistic record linkage PRL methodology as an alternative way to find or follow up hard-to-reach population as crack users. PRL was based on secondary data from public health information systems and the strategy used from standardization; phonetic encoding and the rounds of matching data were described. A total of 293 patient records from medical database and two administrative datasets obtained from Ministry of Health Information Systems were used. Patient information from the medical database was the identifiers to the administrative datasets containing data on outpatient treatment and hospital admissions. 40% of patient records were found in the hospital database and 12% were found in the outpatient database; 95% of the patients were hospitalized up to 5 times, and only 10 out of them had outpatient information. The record linkage methodology by linking government databases may help to address research questions about the path of patients in the care network without spending time and financial resources with primary data collection.

Author: Veralice Maria Gonçalves, Rosemeri Pedroso, Antônio Marcos dos Santos, Lisia Von Diemen, and Flavio Pechansky



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