Machine-learning classifiers for logographic name matching in public health applications: approaches for incorporating phonetic, visual, and keystroke similarity in large-scale

01/07/2020 ∙ by Philip A. Collender, et al. ∙ 0

Approximate string-matching methods to account for complex variation in highly discriminatory text fields, such as personal names, can enhance probabilistic record linkage. However, discriminating between matching and non-matching strings is challenging for logographic scripts, where similarities in pronunciation, appearance, or keystroke sequence are not directly encoded in the string data. We leverage a large Chinese administrative dataset with known match status to develop logistic regression and Xgboost classifiers integrating measures of visual, phonetic, and keystroke similarity to enhance identification of potentially-matching name pairs. We evaluate three methods of leveraging name similarity scores in large-scale probabilistic record linkage, which can adapt to varying match prevalence and information in supporting fields: (1) setting a threshold score based on predicted quality of name-matching across all record pairs; (2) setting a threshold score based on predicted discriminatory power of the linkage model; and (3) using empirical score distributions among matches and nonmatches to perform Bayesian adjustment of matching probabilities estimated from exact-agreement linkage. In experiments on holdout data, as well as data simulated with varying name error rates and supporting fields, a logistic regression classifier incorporated via the Bayesian method demonstrated marked improvements over exact-agreement linkage with respect to discriminatory power, match probability estimation, and accuracy, reducing the total number of misclassified record pairs by 21 test data and up to an average of 93 demonstrate the value of incorporating visual, phonetic, and keystroke similarity for logographic name matching, as well as the promise of our Bayesian approach to leverage name-matching within large-scale record linkage.

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