One of the most challenging aspects of interoperability is person matching, the ability to identify different records for the same person so that they can be linked to provide a more comprehensive and holistic view of that person. Accomplishing this critically important objective can be challenging across domains because they often use different systems, each with its own ways of identifying individuals. That means it can be difficult to know if Jon A. Smyth in one system/domain is the same person as Jonathan Alex Smyth in another (much less if the last name is misspelled “Smith” in one of them). Project Unify is tackling this challenge in order to lower a longtime hurdle to broad, efficient interoperability.
Phase 1 Summary: Conceptualizing Person Matching
Over the past year, Project Unify’s person matching core team, led by Pradeep Podila and Rita Torkzadeh explored this key enabler of interoperability. A conceptual model of an approach and its considerations were laid out for Project Unify, followed by a series of public education sessions to the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) community. This work is intended as the predicate for work in Phase 2, which will design and implement a proof of concept (PoC) demonstration that includes person matching to support the exchange of data on a given individual across domains. The intention of the POC is for it to be open source/open-API.
Phase 2: Demonstrate person-matching proof-of-concept
The goal of this PoC is to leverage other aspects of Project Unify (such as Unify UX) and to harness the data available in the MiHIN Interoperability Land repository. Using this repository and its FHIR resources will provide the opportunity to align the PoC with user stories the group is developing. MiHIN is also working on tools that will make it easier to generate new personas that match our user stories. A company called Senzing, which has expertise in person matching, is helping to develop the PoC in a way that avoids vendor lock-in. We intend to focus our efforts on defining an API that will have the potential to be freely implemented. The PoC itself is a collaborative project, with input from many members of the Let’s Get Technical community. Our first rough draft will be published on the NIC Collaboration Hub in August 2020, with the goal of producing a very early working PoC application in September.