Link and Unlink Identities

Data stewards can link two identities to create a single, surviving Link ID. They can also unlink previously linked identities. 

Linking Identities

When a data steward links identities, they are selecting one entire Link ID (which includes all source records assigned to that Link ID) and combining that Link ID with a second Link ID. The selected Link ID is ‘linked into’ the second Link ID. The source records all become assigned to the second, surviving, Link ID, indicating they all represent one person.

Unlinking Identities

When a data steward unlinks one or more source records (each source record is made up of Source + Native ID) from a previously linked ID, they are selecting a subset of source records within a Link ID and splitting those selected source records out into a new Link ID. This indicates that they represent a different person.

View and Link Modes

You can view, link, or unlink source records in two different places:

  • Search – You can use the search tab to search and retrieve any identity records through a demographic search or ID lookup. Identity records retrieved in search mode can then be viewed in the Workspace — a sort of 'scratch space' where you can work with your records. For more information, see Viewing Identities in the Workspace

  • Task – From the Task Queue, the Universal Identity platform has proactively detected and queued up data stewardship tasks for the user to view, based on conditions present in the data at the time the source records were posted. For more information, see Assign, Manage, and Work on Stewardship Tasks

Link Identities

Two identities with different Link IDs can be linked by a data steward. When identities are linked, all of the source records from both identities will be combined into a single identity with a single Link ID.

Only 2 identities may be linked at a time.

  1. Select the Link IDs that you want to link together. An action button becomes active after selecting a second Link ID.
  2. Click Link Selected Records.
  3. Select the record you wish to be the surviving record, and then select Link Record.
Tip - Linking more than 2 identities
In some cases, you may want to link more than two identities. To combine three or more identities, start by combining two identities, and then repeat the process until all the obsolete identities have been combined into a single surviving identity.

Unlink Source Records

When one (or more) identities are displayed at the same time, you can also unlink source records from an identity. By unlinking one or more source records, you are asserting that the unlinked source records are a different person than the rest of the identity to which they originally belonged.

  • Unlinked source records are moved into a new Link ID.
  • If more than one source record is selected from an identity, then all of the selected source records are unlinked together and remain together in the new Link ID to which they are assigned.
  • All source records which were NOT selected during the unlink operation remain in the original Link ID.

The unlink action can only be applied to source records from within a single original identity.

You cannot select and unlink ALL source records from an identity – at least one source record must remain in the original identity. As a result, an identity made up of just a single source record will not allow the user to select that single source record for unlinking.

Advanced Linking and Unlinking

At times, you may need to make more complicated linking and unlinking decisions across multiple identities. For these more complicated scenarios, you can use the linking and unlinking actions in steps to accomplish your final goal.

For example, suppose you are viewing two identities in Universal Identity:

  • The first identity consists of several source records. One of the source records is for a person named ‘Jack Smith’, and all the other source records are for a person named ‘John Smith’.
  • The second identity also consists of several source records. One of the source records is for a person named ‘Jack Smith’, and all the other source records are for a person named ‘James Smith’.

You determine that there are three distinct people represented in the data:

  • The first identity is John Smith
  • The second identity is James Smith (a different person)
  • The third identity is Jack Smith, who has source records in each of the first two identities.

To rectify this, you decide you want to unlink both of the ‘Jack Smith’ source records from their current identities and combine them into a third Link ID.

Here's how you would do it:

  1. Unlink the one ‘Jack Smith’ source record from the ‘John Smith’ identity.
  2. Unlink the one ‘Jack Smith’ source record from the ‘James Smith’ identity.
    At this point, there are four identities (and four Link IDs) displayed – one for the original John Smith identity; one for the original James Smith identity; and two for each of the Jack Smith source records that were individually unlinked.
    Link together the two ‘Jack Smith’ identities into a single identity.

Update Task Details

  • In the Workspace view, you can retrieve one or more identities and made link/unlink decisions independent of any Universal Identity-detected data stewardship task. 
  • In the Task Details view, you can update both before and after you are finished with any linking or unlinking actions. You can also update task status from this view.
Changing a task status to Closed does not remove or delete the task, but the task no longer appears in the default Task List view. You can still search for and retrieve them.
Task statuses of Deferred or In Progress can be useful for tracking tasks that you might leave in a partially-reviewed state for an indefinite period of time. 

Task Resolution

The Task Resolution Reason field is not a required field and it does not limit or control what you can or cannot set as the task status. The purpose of the task resolution reason simply provides an option for tracking more additional details about why a task was resolved. Available resolutions are as follows: 

Task Resolution Reasons

  • None – No resolution reason has been specified.
  • Not enough information – The data steward is unable to decide on whether the records are the same person or not due to lack of information.
  • Same person – The data steward resolved the task because they determined the different records represent the same person.
  • Not same person – The data steward resolved the task because they determined the different records do NOT represent the same person.
  • Intentional duplicate – The data steward determined the different records are the same person, but they intentionally chose to leave the records unlinked for some organizational or business reason.
  • Automatic – This resolution reason is only used in cases where a Verato automated process is used to automatically close or update tasks in the event of a maintenance event.
  • Active Patient – A data steward deferred completing the task because the patient is actively receiving care in a facility, and the steward does not want to disrupt the records.
  • Chart Review – A data steward has a task in progress, but needs to review manual or electronic charts in other systems before making a decision.

Task Resolution Example

Suppose that you review a task and decide that you think the different records are not the same person. You mark the task status as Closed to indicate that you are done with the task. Alternatively, you might set the resolution reason to Not same person to provide additional insight to anyone who looks at the task in the future. You then review a second task, and you also mark that task as ‘Closed’ when you are done.

However, for that task, you elected to link records together because you think they are the same person – for this task, you could set the resolution reason of ‘Same person’. This helps distinguish between different tasks that may all have the same status of ‘Closed’.

Update Task Assignees

You can also update task assignees from the Task Details view. The task assignee is displayed near the top of the Task Details view. 

Assigning a task to yourself is helpful if you want to more quickly retrieve that task later. Assigning a task to another user is helpful if you intend to ask that other person to review the task for some reason. The image below shows an example of assigning a different task assignee (user).

Add Comments

You can add comments at the source record level and/or task level. 

Click the comment icon, enter the comment text, and then click Add Comment.