Unique and Consistant Identifiers

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Unique and Consistant Identifiers

I run reports every month and have been asked to assign unique identifiers to each physician's name that will be consistant month to month.  Does anyone have any ideas on how I do this?  Please note that my skill level in SAS is such that this request is very far over my head.

Thank you for any help.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 218

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Try to use the MD5 function.

Here is a link to the SAS Online Help about this function http://support.sas.com/documentation/cdl/en/lrdict/64316/HTML/default/viewer.htm#a003064419.htm

Respected Advisor
Posts: 4,927

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

IMHO, you should ask the physicians themselves how they want to be identified, and then build a table keyed on that ID for auxiliary info (name, address, specialty, etc)

PG

PG
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

They really don't care and have left it up to us - truth be told, I am not sure why they need this.  That being said, I am thinking a table would be the way to go as I should be able to call it up month to month, right?  Then merge with the new data every month to see if there are new names with unassigned ID.  Does that sound right to you?  Someone suggested FSEdit.  Do you think that is the way to go?  OMG I hate being a newbie.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 218

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

"FSEdit"!!!? Good God, People still use that old thing!? Blimey!

Have you heard of "National Provider Identifier Standard (NPI)" Here is a link http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/HIPAA-Administrative-Simplification/NationalProvIdentSta... from the CMS.gov site, and here a Wikipedia link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Provider_Identifier.

NPI already covers physician's plus many other healthcare proiders. You might be able to utilize something already there and has been standardized instead of re-inventing the wheal!!

BTW, http://www.npinumberlookup.org/ provides the lookup functionality you are looking for.

Ahmed

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Posted in reply to AhmedAl_Attar

1st - love the Blimey!! 2nd - so much info to process - thanks for sharing the knowledge.  Will look into all and I am sure I will be asking for further help.


Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Posted in reply to AhmedAl_Attar

FYI - the reason they want the unique IDs is to keep the provider's name confidential.  So NPI won't work for me as it is freely available to anyone.  Thanks for the suggestion though.

Super User
Posts: 19,833

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Apply a randomization to the NPI then, a double look up, but you'll still need to maintain a db of people.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Yes - that is why I though I would create a table, do a code using  _n_ and count, and then merge the new names each month with the names and id's in the table and look for those names that are new and therefore do not have an ID then I think it may be easier for me to manually give the new names their numbers starting where it was left off.  So if the last number SAS gave was 252, I will just add the first new name and 253 as the identifier etc.  My skill does not yet extend to coding SAS to do it.

Am I at least in the ballpark?

Regular Contributor
Posts: 218

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Patricia,

Use the MD5 function. It will give you a consistent mechanism to create unique IDs, the string you provide to the function could be a concatenation of multiple fields/variables, yet the outcome is always unique 32 hex characters long. MD5 algorithm is used in Data Warehousing to generate unique records ids.

Ahmed

Super User
Posts: 19,833

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Posted in reply to AhmedAl_Attar

Are you suggesting displaying a report with the MD5 characters identifying the physician? I doubt that would go over well. Its to hard for the eye to distinguish the numbers for one thing, plus way too long for a unique identifier in a report.

You're in the ballpark Patricia. If you break it up into steps (like above) its fairly simple. Get it working and then come back and ask how to add in the new numbers, I'm sure someone will answer it superfast Smiley Wink

Super User
Posts: 19,833

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

What happens when a doctor gets married and changes her name?

I didn't read any of the links, but generally, people in DB should be #'s not names.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 12

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Unfortunately I am currently working for a non-profit city agency - we have 11 facilities and every one of them has their own software/systems, etc.  We are just getting everyone on the same system.  So when I say I do not currently have access to the identifiers and IT will not be able to help me for months, you can understand why my posts have a ring of desperation.

Thanks again.

Super User
Posts: 19,833

Re: Unique and Consistant Identifiers

Here's what "I" would do.

Get a list of all my physicians.

Get all their NPI's from the NPI listing (Possibly manually, but guessing some Javascript could do it quickly). 

Create my lookup table.

Create a check every month if the names isn't in my list then do an NPI search via JavaScript or manually. 

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