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Identity Resolution Daily Links 2010-02-13

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

[Post from Infoglide] Architectures for Entity Resolution

“In the last post we looked at a formal model for describing entity-based integration. Now let’s turn our attention to how entity resolution (ER) systems are actually implemented.  One of the most important design decisions is whether the system will perform entity identity management.  Systems perform identity management when they create and store the attributes values for the identities that they process.”

tdwi: IBM and Informatica Acquire MDM Capabilities

“The two acquisitions focus the spotlight on two of the hottest functions today, in terms of user organizations adopting them, namely: MDM and identity resolution. More than ever, organizations need trusted data, in support of regulatory reporting, compliance, business intelligence, analytics, operational excellence, and other data-driven requirements. MDM and identity resolution are key enablers for these requirements, so it’s no surprise that two leading vendors have chosen to acquire these at this time.”

PoliceGrantsHelp.com: Building fusion centers for the next decade

“Serrao says that in the time he has spent in a dozen different fusion centers in the United States — coupled with his own background in law enforcement — he’s gleaned several ‘best practices’ for consideration. Ideally, he says, leadership should ’set a specific strategic mission before the center is even built. Everything else follows. Determine the role of the center and whether strategic intelligence analysis will be part of the mix. Then, it will be easier to define what processes will be developed, what reporting mechanisms are needed, what technology is appropriate, and what types of personnel are needed.’”

Prudent Press Agency: Kansas Takes Action Against Lottery Fraud

“The state of Kansas has been conducting sting operations to prevent this kind of theft by lottery terminal clerks. Law enforcement agents fanned out across the state and presented ‘winning’ tickets at several retail lottery outlets. In five separate cases clerks told the agents the tickets were worthless and then tried to redeem the ‘winning’ lottery tickets. The undercover investigation led to charges of attempted theft and computer crime against five people across the state.”

Architectures for Entity Resolution

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

By John Talburt, PhD, CDMP, Director, UALR Laboratory for Advanced Research in Entity Resolution and Information Quality (ERIQ)

In the last post we looked at a formal model for describing entity-based integration. Now let’s turn our attention to how entity resolution (ER) systems are actually implemented.  One of the most important design decisions is whether the system will perform entity identity management.  Systems perform identity management when they create and store the attributes values for the identities that they process.  Identity management is necessary for systems that assign persistent entity identifiers, i.e. the system must give all of the references to the same entity the same identifier value from one resolution process to the next.

The most basic form of ER is the merge/purge process.  A merge/purge process reads a large batch of references and systematically makes pair-wise comparisons between them.  During the process, it assigns a group identifier to all of the references it determines to be for the same entity.  However, these identifiers are transient, only existing during the process of a particular batch of references since the end result is to create a single, merged record (called a “survivor” record) in place of each reference group.  The result is that references to the same entity occurring in two different merge/purge processes will likely be given different group identifiers from one process to the next.  For example, the references for John Doe in the first batch of references processed might given the group ID of 213, but references to the same John Doe in a batch of references processed the next day might be given a group ID of 634.  The merge/purge process can still correctly resolve the entity references in each batch, but the values of the group IDs don’t persist or carry over for the same entities from batch to batch.

Another characteristic of the merge/purge ER process is that it is designed to operate in batch mode.  However, there are transactional or “on-demand” versions of merge/purge that are sometimes referred to as heterogeneous database join systems.  Instead of combining all of the reference sources into a single file for batch processing, each reference source is loaded as a database table.  The application is connected to all of the source tables and has metadata that describes the structure of each reference source.  This allows a single query or “join request” to be submitted to the application, which then translates the request into an appropriate query for each source.  The individual query responses are collected and processed into a single view that is provided as the query result for the initial query.  Just as in the merge/purge process, the groups of references brought together for an entity (a query) are transient.  These types of query-based ER systems are common in law enforcement and other hypothesis testing applications.

On the other hand, there are other ER architectures designed to retain and manage entity identity information.  By doing this they are able to “recognize” references to the same entity over time and assigned those references the same entity identifier, i.e. maintain persistent entity identifiers.  In CRM applications these kinds of systems are sometimes called Customer Recognition Systems.

There are two major types of ER system architectures that perform identity management - “identity resolution” systems and “identity capture” systems. In the next post, I will pick up here with a discussion of how these systems manage identity and maintain persistent entity identifiers.

Healthcare Identity Resolution Confusion

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer

Confusion about medical records can lead to chaos. We’ve all heard horror stories about hospital tragedies caused by misidentification of a patient, such as applying an unnecessary surgery. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of correct, unambiguous information in the practice of medicine. Knowing as much as possible about a patient enables a practitioner to reach a correct diagnosis and the proper treatment regimen in the least amount of time.

Underscoring the importance that accurate information plays in effective treatment, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed in 2009 includes incentives for hospitals and doctors to adopt and support certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. In fact, the Act set aside $20 billion to encourage health care organizations to improve their recordkeeping through healthcare information technology.

Today’s hot healthcare industry topic, therefore, is electronic health records. While an EHR can create the potential for interoperability, it can’t deliver interoperability without robust identity resolution. High-quality health care depends on complete, unambiguous patient information being available at all times, so identity resolution technology has become a crucial component of a well-designed healthcare identification infrastructure.

By applying identity resolution to patient identification integrity, identity resolution can prevent common medical errors:
Duplicates are a simple example, where the two records exist for the same person within a single facility. More complex types of errors can easily start to mount up, including overlaps where more than one record exists for one person within two facilities within a single organization, and overlays where information for two people are integrated under a single record.

The rush to respond to ARRA resulted in overstatements of the identity resolution capabilities of many products. For example, most master data management (MDM) systems include matching and de-duplication capabilities that have become labeled “identity resolution” while in fact they lack the critical requirements for identity resolution. Dan Power of Hub Solution Designs has pointed out the growing role of identity resolution in MDM and the need for MDM vendors to move beyond “not invented here” thinking to incorporate true identity resolution into their offerings.

Confusion about medical records can lead to chaos. Clearing up confusion about identity resolution clears a path out of the chaos that will lead to better solutions.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-12-11

Friday, December 11th, 2009

[Post from Infoglide] State Agencies Adopting Entity Resolution

“Significant opportunities to apply identity resolution and entity analytics exist at the state level. State agencies interact with citizens and corporations across many domains, including collection of tax revenues (e.g. oil and gas – I’m from Texas!), licenses (e.g. motor vehicles, hunting, fishing), housing programs, lotteries, child protective services, health care, workers’ compensation, the court system, law enforcement, and homeland security.”

thestar.com: Store owner guilty in $5.75M lottery fraud

“A former convenience store owner has pleaded guilty to defrauding the Ontario Lottery Corporation after misrepresenting a winning ticket worth $5.75 million as his own.”

ZDNet: Cloud computing, so much more than multi-tenancy

“The trouble with talking about multi-tenancy itself is that it draws you into an abstract debate with conventional software vendors over the relative merits of alternative deployment platforms for a given application. This immediately brings the debate onto their home ground — a place where applications are discrete, deployments happen as a batch process and you have to get the system up-and-running before you even start thinking about meeting the business requirement. That’s not where the cloud is at.”

Liliendahl on Data Quality: Phony Phones and Real Numbers

“There are plenty of data quality issues related to phone numbers in party master data. Despite that a phone number should be far less fuzzy than names and addresses I have spend lots of time having fun with these calling digits.”

UALR: UALR Joins National Identity Management Center

Dr. John R. Talburt, the Acxiom Chair of Information Quality at UALR, is an expert in the fields of information quality and entity resolution and will represent UALR at the center. ‘Dr. Talburt is a widely recognized, well-respected expert in the field of information quality and identity resolution. His vast knowledge in these areas of identity management will be an incredible asset for CAIMR and the research we are undertaking this coming year,’ said Dr. Gary R. Gordon, CAIMR’s executive director.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Infoglide Corporation maintains a partnership with Dr. Talburt and his Laboratory for Advanced Research in Entity Resolution and Information Quality (ERIQ). The Lab conducts research addressing important problems related to entity resolution and information quality.

State Agencies Adopting Entity Resolution

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer

Fresh out of grad school, I initiated a career in software development by writing software for state agencies. Although I migrated to work for software companies several years later, lessons learned in those beginning years were a great platform for later challenges.

Significant opportunities to apply identity resolution and entity analytics exist at the state level. State agencies interact with citizens and corporations across many domains, including collection of tax revenues (e.g. oil and gas – I’m from Texas!), licenses (e.g. motor vehicles, hunting, fishing), housing programs, lotteries, child protective services, health care, workers’ compensation, the court system, law enforcement, and homeland security.

In most of these areas, it’s important to know exactly who you’re dealing with and who their associates are. For example, we’ve partnered with a state workers’ compensation organization to help them detect employers trying to defraud the state by paying lower premiums than they rightfully should. These employers try to foil the state by dissolving and reforming under different company names, but identity resolution is adept at uncovering such unlawful maneuvers.

New entity resolution applications that deal simultaneously with multiple sources of data residing at multiple agencies promise to make state government more efficient and effective. For example, an agency that requires a citizen to supply information during an application process can augment that process with incremental real-time services that find linkages to other data, thus making it possible to stop payments and/or deny licensing to “dead beat dads”, people who have unpaid taxes, etc. until they meet their legal responsibilities.

While using entity resolution in commercial and federal applications is moving rapidly, states have only just begun to exploit this new technology. If you know of areas that need to be addressed, we’d like to hear about them.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-10-16

Friday, October 16th, 2009

[Post from Infoglide] Avoiding False Positives: Analytics or Humans?

“The European Union recently started a five-year research program in conjunction with its expanding role in fighting crime and terrorism. The purpose of Project Indect is to develop advanced analytics that help monitor human activity for ‘automatic detection of threats and abnormal behaviour and violence.’ Naturally, the project has drawn suspicion and criticism, both from those who oppose the growing power of the EU and from watchdog groups concerned about encroachments into privacy and civil liberty…”

SDTimes: Old thinking does a disservice to new data hubs

“The enterprise needs to be able to understand the origin, the time and possibly the reason for a change. These audit needs must be supported by the data hub at the attribute level. MDM solutions that maintain the golden record dynamically address this need by supporting the history of changes in the source systems record content.”

Accision Health Blog: Surveys Show Importance of EHR

“A new Rand study is one of the first to link the use of electronic health records in community-based medical practices with higher quality of care.  Rand Corporation researchers found in a study of 305 groups of primary care physicians that the routine use of multifunctional EHRs was more likely to be linked to higher quality care than other common strategies, such as structural changes used for improving care.”

NYSIF: Central NY Contractor Hit with Workers Comp Fraud Charges

“Investigators said Mr. Decker previously had an insurance policy with NYSIF when he operated RD Builders in November 2005, a policy cancelled for non-payment a few months later. In 2008, he applied to NYSIF’s Syracuse office for workers’ compensation insurance doing business as Bull Rock Development, Inc.”

public intelligence: Office of Intelligence and Analysis (DHS)

“These entities are unified under local fusion centers, which provide state and local officials with intelligence products while simultaneously gathering information for federal sources.  As of July 2009, there were 72 designated fusion centers around the country with 36 field representatives deployed. The Department has provided more than $254 million from FY 2004-2007 to state and local governments to support the centers.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-9-25

Friday, September 25th, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

[Post from Infoglide] Social CRM, CDI, and Identity Resolution

“In her well-read book on CDI, Jill Dyché offers a definition of CDI that also seems to describe social CRM. Try reading her definition of CDI, replacing ‘CDI’ with ’social CRM’:  CDI is a set of procedures, controls, skills and automation that standardize and integrate customer data originating from multiple sources(1).”

Charleston Daily Mail: Former owner of WVa trucking company sentenced

“Leonard Cline formerly owned H & H Trucking. The insurance commissioner says he defrauded the old state workers’ compensation system of more than $500,000 in unpaid premiums, penalties and claims for benefits over about 10 years.”

WTVQ: Eight People Indicted for Insurance Fraud

“The US attorney’s office says the suspects intentionally damaged insured automobiles owned by other conspirators then filed claims.”

KansasCity.com: Push for electronic medical records picks up steam

“With or without health care reform this year, electronic medical records are picking up steam. Recent technological advances are easing the transition for doctors and hospitals, and there’s the little matter of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. The act, part of last spring’s stimulus package, included billions of dollars to ‘advance the use of health information technology.’ There’s plenty of advancing to do, with one group estimating that less than half the hospitals and only one in five physicians are equipped to fully use electronic records. ‘The United States is far more advanced in grocery store technology than in medical records technology,’ said Steve Lieber, president and chief executive officer of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in Chicago.”

pnj.com: Man charged with workers’ comp fraud

“Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrest today in a news release. In the release, Sink said her Division of Insurance Fraud said Soto is charged with falsifying employment numbers with the intent of avoiding higher workers’ compensation premium payments.”

Federal News Radio: Update: Identity management in the Obama administration

“The alphabet soup of identity management programs from the Bush administration — HSPD-12, TWIC, Real ID, and many more — have gotten little attention publicly during the first nine months of the Obama presidency. But that doesn’t mean identity management has been ignored totally, says one senior administration official.”

London Evening Standard: Lloyd’s chief warns of more insurance fraud

“Lloyd’s of London’s chief executive Richard Ward today warned the deep recession would increase the number of fraudulent claims being made against the insurance market.”

Computerworld: Laptop searches at airports infrequent, DHS privacy report says

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s annual privacy report card revealed more details on the agency’s  controversial policy involving searches of electronic devices at U.S. borders. . . . For instance, numbers released in the report indicate that warrantless searches of electronic devices at U.S. borders are occurring less frequently than some privacy and civil rights advocates might have feared. Of the more than 144 million travelers that arrived at U.S. ports of entry between Oct. 1, 2008 and May 5, 2009, searches of electronic media were conducted on 1,947 of them, the DHS said.Of this number, 696 searches were performed on laptop computers, the DHS said. Even here, not all of the laptops received an ‘in-depth’ search of the device, the report states. A search sometimes may have been as simple as turning on a device to ensure that it was what it purported to be. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents conducted ‘in-depth’ searches on 40 laptops, but the report did not describe what an in-depth search entailed. . . . The report chronicled similar efforts to monitor the privacy implications of a range of projects that privacy groups are also watching. Examples include  Einstein 2.0 network monitoring technology that improves the ability of federal agencies to detect and respond to threats, and the  Real ID identity credentialing program. The DHS’s terror watch list program, its numerous  data mining projects  and the secure flight initiative were also mentioned in the report.”


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