Researchers studying the effectiveness of HPV vaccinations have developed a practical and secure protocol for linking data registries from different organizations, according to a study published this week in the peer-reviewed science journal PLoS ONE. The protocol, which allows for continuous monitoring of vaccine effectiveness, can be applied for examination of other similar efforts, including disease surveillance.
The researchers, based at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Canada, used cryptographic techniques that enable exact matching of records between different registries via identifiers like health card numbers or birth dates, while maintaining privacy. The computation time for scanning through records for as many as 100,000 patients was at worst, just under 4 hours and at best, slightly less than 3 hours.
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