Document Detail

Quality assurance review of death certificates: a pilot study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15725778     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Although quality assurance programs for medical examiners are required by the National Association of Medical Examiners' Inspection and Accreditation Checklist, quality assurance programs specifically targeting death certificate completion have not been addressed. The Fulton County Medical Examiner, Atlanta, GA, has implemented a pilot quality assurance program for death certificate information, and this report contains information about 1 year's experience with the program.
METHODS: All death certificates are reviewed by the case medical examiner(s) and chief medical examiner prior to their release to funeral homes. Death certificates with errors are retained for quality assurance and review purposes, and needed corrections are made before death certificates are released. During a 1-year period, death certificates with errors were collected and then reviewed and tabulated by type of error.
RESULTS: Between May 26, 2003, and May 25, 2004, the Fulton County Medical Examiner certified 1267 deaths. Of these, 47 (4%) were found to contain errors that were corrected and an additional 52 (4%) had been amended for various reasons. The most common errors were misspellings in causes of death or poor or incomplete wording in injury-related information. Forty-seven percent of errors involved omitted, incomplete, or incorrect information that was potentially significant. The most common reason for amended certificates was unexpected detection of acute intoxications among people with significant cardiovascular disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Quality assurance review of death certificates can assist in preventing the release of death certificates with incomplete, erroneous, or omitted information and may also be useful as an educational forum regarding completion of the death certificate.
Randy Hanzlick
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology     Volume:  26     ISSN:  0195-7910     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Publication Date:  2005 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-02-23     Completed Date:  2005-05-19     Revised Date:  2011-02-02    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8108948     Medline TA:  Am J Forensic Med Pathol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  63-5     Citation Subset:  IM    
Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office and Emory School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Cause of Death
Death Certificates*
Forensic Medicine / standards
Pilot Projects
Quality Assurance, Health Care

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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