Presentation Title

Accuracy of Death Certificates in a Suburban Community

Speaker Credentials

OMS-IV

Speaker Credentials

MPH

College

Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, DO

Location

Signature Grand, Davie, Florida, USA

Format

Poster

Start Date

25-4-2008 12:00 AM

End Date

25-4-2008 12:00 AM

Abstract

Objective/Background. Death certificates provide epidemiologists with statistical data regarding causes of death within the community. But when the certificates are filled out erroneously it can skew the statistician’s data. The aim of our investigation was to determine if these certificates are being completed correctly, how frequently errors are occurring, and what types of errors are being committed by clinicians in our county. Methods. 371 consecutive death certificates issued by community physicians from Broward County between February and March of 2007 were reviewed. Errors were grouped into major categories as follows: unacceptable cause of death (UC), non-specific cause of death (NS), irrelevant information (II), incorrect order (IO), and incorrectly completed (IC). Results. Forty-eight percent of death certificates were found to have at least one of the five types of inaccuracies in the cause of death section. These were UC errors 30.19%, NS errors 14.82%, IC errors 6.47%, II errors 4.04%, and IO errors 3.50%. Conclusions. Nearly half of all death certificates reviewed in this study were found to be inaccurate. These errors result in misleading information to epidemiologists, patient families, and state and federal agencies. Since most physicians only receive informal training in death certification during medical school or residency, and the completion of this form is not an integral component of most physicians’ practice, this study shows that continuing education is needed on this topic and identifies the areas for focus. Death certification tutorials have been initiated by the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office to address this problem.

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Apr 25th, 12:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 AM

Accuracy of Death Certificates in a Suburban Community

Signature Grand, Davie, Florida, USA

Objective/Background. Death certificates provide epidemiologists with statistical data regarding causes of death within the community. But when the certificates are filled out erroneously it can skew the statistician’s data. The aim of our investigation was to determine if these certificates are being completed correctly, how frequently errors are occurring, and what types of errors are being committed by clinicians in our county. Methods. 371 consecutive death certificates issued by community physicians from Broward County between February and March of 2007 were reviewed. Errors were grouped into major categories as follows: unacceptable cause of death (UC), non-specific cause of death (NS), irrelevant information (II), incorrect order (IO), and incorrectly completed (IC). Results. Forty-eight percent of death certificates were found to have at least one of the five types of inaccuracies in the cause of death section. These were UC errors 30.19%, NS errors 14.82%, IC errors 6.47%, II errors 4.04%, and IO errors 3.50%. Conclusions. Nearly half of all death certificates reviewed in this study were found to be inaccurate. These errors result in misleading information to epidemiologists, patient families, and state and federal agencies. Since most physicians only receive informal training in death certification during medical school or residency, and the completion of this form is not an integral component of most physicians’ practice, this study shows that continuing education is needed on this topic and identifies the areas for focus. Death certification tutorials have been initiated by the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office to address this problem.