Understanding mortality statistics: the importance of cause of death certification and coding
Understanding how cause of death data are collected and coded is important for those analyzing mortality statistics and especially for the interpretation of national trends and international comparisons. This seminar will include a brief primer on how cause of death is to be reported and a discussion of common problems with cause of death certification. This will be followed by a description of basic coding rules and procedures and how the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) implements these according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Also discussed will be related topics such as the accuracy of cause of death statistics, automated cause of death coding, electronic death registration systems, and multiple cause of death information and how these relate to the mortality data used for analysis.
Robert Anderson is Chief of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's NCHS. His interests and expertise are in demographic methodology and mortality statistics. His research has focused on changes in the ICD and how this affects cause of death statistics, changes in the reporting of sudden unexpected infant deaths, and the effects of improper cause of death certification practices.