An accessible method for teaching doctors about death certification

Walker, Sue M., Rampatige, Rasika , Wainiqolo, Iris, & Aumua, Audrey (2012) An accessible method for teaching doctors about death certification. Health Information Management Journal, 41(1), pp. 4-10.

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The World Health Organization recommends that data on mortality in its member countries are collected utilising the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death published in the instruction volume of the ICD-10. However, investment in health information processes necessary to promote the use of this certificate and improve mortality information is lacking in many countries. An appeal for support to make improvements has been launched through the Health Metrics Network’s MOVE-IT strategy (Monitoring of Vital Events – Information Technology) [World Health Organization, 2011]. Despite this international spotlight on the need for capture of mortality data and in the use of the ICD-10 to code the data reported on such certificates, there is little cohesion in the way that certifiers of deaths receive instruction in how to complete the death certificate, which is the main source document for mortality statistics. Complete and accurate documentation of the immediate, underlying and contributory causes of death of the decedent on the death certificate is a requirement to produce standardised statistical information and to the ability to produce cause-specific mortality statistics that can be compared between populations and across time. This paper reports on a research project conducted to determine the efficacy and accessibility of the certification module of the WHO’s newly-developed web based training tool for coders and certifiers of deaths. Involving a population of medical students from the Fiji School of Medicine and a pre and post research design, the study entailed completion of death certificates based on vignettes before and after access to the training tool. The ability of the participants to complete the death certificates and analysis of the completeness and specificity of the ICD-10 coding of the reported causes of death were used to measure the effect of the students’ learning from the training tool. The quality of death certificate completion was assessed using a Quality Index before and after the participants accessed the training tool. In addition, the views of the participants about accessibility and use of the training tool were elicited using a supplementary questionnaire. The results of the study demonstrated improvement in the ability of the participants to complete death certificates completely and accurately according to best practice. The training tool was viewed very positively and its implementation in the curriculum for medical students was encouraged. Participants also recommended that interactive discussions to examine the certification exercises would be an advantage.

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4 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 46652
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Full article available 6 months after publication
Additional URLs:
Keywords: death certification, causes of death, mortality , data quality
ISSN: 1833-3583
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Information Systems (incl. Surveillance) (111711)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Research Centres > National Centre for Health Information Research & Training
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Health Information Management Association of Australia
Deposited On: 27 Oct 2011 22:00
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2017 14:44

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