SeRP & LinXmart: Intelligent Data Linkage

The Population Data Science Team at Swansea University and The Centre for Data Linkage at Curtin University, located on Australia’s western coast in Perth, have a long-standing relationship founded on many years of collaboration. This partnership capitalises on the alliance of two advanced data technology platforms.

Developed within Swansea University Medical School, the Secure eResearch Platform (SeRP) is a world-class data solutions provider for a range of organisations that conduct data analysis and research in the public interest. SeRP is the complete customisable solution for data sharing, storage, linkage, anonymisation and analysis in a safe, secure and controlled environment that’s accredited to the highest international standard.

SeRP incorporates the data linkage capabilities provided by specialist software, LinXmart, developed by the Centre for Data Linkage.

Created by a team of linkage experts and software developers, LinXmart uses deterministic and probabilistic methods to determine if records in different data collections belong to the same anonymised individual. The software takes into account missing information and errors in data (e.g. typographical errors) and produces highly accurate match results. In SeRP, this linkage is carried out such that no identifiable information is ever exposed or shared.

The team at Swansea University operate a best-of-breed approach to technology adoption for SeRP. The team constantly evaluate software products, understanding how each product can improve the technology stack of SeRP. Through this relationship, the team evaluated and implemented the LinXmart data linkage application.

Simon Thompson,

Chief Technical Officer at SeRP said:

“We realised that data linkage was the cornerstone of many aspects of population data research and to this extent, SeRP needed a product that could support probabilistic and deterministic linkage approaches. LinXmart was evaluated by our team and it was found to be the product that addressed our needs the best. Since our collaboration with the Centre for Data Linkage, we’ve built up a professional and collaborative relationship with past and present members of the team and have been able to work on some exciting developments on LinXmart that SeRP users are benefiting from”

The seamless integration of the LinXmart software within the SeRP platform is now operating across its UK, Australia and Canada implementations. Those organisations with tenancies on each platform, who carry out data linkage activity, all use LinXmart software within their customised SeRP environment. For SeRP Australia this includes Monash University on the East Coast and LinXmart creators Curtin University in the West.

Associate Professor, Dr Anna Ferrante

Head of the Centre for Data Linkage, added:

“Our relationship with the team in Swansea has been extremely positive, with both groups driven to support research through the provision of robust, efficient and secure systems. The innovation emerging from both groups has been exciting to see integrated into the SeRP platform.”