Modernizing the National Vital Statistics System
We are working to reinvent the National Vital Statistics System to make vital information more available for action.
When we have accurate data fast enough, we can recognize and track developing health threats – from preterm births to deaths from flu and drug overdoses.
By applying technological solutions that are modern, connected, and capable,
we are making notable improvements to the timeliness and quality of national data.
Improvements in Timeliness
Final death data released in less than a year – down from a previous average of two years
Provisional birth estimates produced in 5 months, with final data released in 9 months
Improvements in Quality
Electronic, front-end validation systems send alerts when a piece of information is incorrect or unusual
Underperforming items dropped from the national birth and fetal death files
Standardized trainings for reporting birth and fetal death information, and standard resources in multiple formats
Modernizing Death Data
Projects to modernize death data are underway across our nation. The National Center for Health Statistics has set ambitious goals for the timeliness and quality of death data:
- Receive at least 80% of mortality records within 10 days of the event
- Receive records on at least 90% of drug-overdose deaths within 90 days of the date of the event
- Improve the quality of information by using nationally approved standards to exchange all vital data electronically
In 2010, the National Center for Health Statistics was receiving only 7% of mortality records within 10 days of the event.
By 2018, that number had risen to almost 60%.
Projects and Partnerships
We are working closely with partners to put electronic death registration systems (EDRS) in place in all 57 vital statistics jurisdictions.
We are also working together to apply modern technologies like open APIs and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR)external icon to speed the flow of data and better connect the broad network of systems we rely on from the local to the national level.
As of 2019, 46 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia have launched an EDRS.
- Improving the timeliness and quality of drug overdose death data and the interoperability of state electronic death registration systems (EDRS)
- Helping jurisdictions without an EDRS in place achieve successful implementation of an EDRS
- Helping jurisdictions with an existing EDRS identify and overcome barriers to use by all data providers
- Applying technical standards (like FHIR and APIs) to make existing EDRS more interoperable with NCHS, medical examiners/coroners offices, and state public health surveillance systems
- Aligning with CDC-wide initiatives to transform how we use data and information technology to move health information faster than ever before
- Electronic Death Registration System Online Reference Manual: A Resource for Jurisdictionspdf icon
- e-Vitals Standards Initiativesword icon
- CDC Open Data
- Canary Testing Frameworkexternal icon
- FHIR Profiles for Interoperabilityexternal icon: FHIR Vital Records Death Reporting Implementation Guide
- Nightingale EDRS Prototype for designers and developers – GitHub open source siteexternal icon
- Project: Improving the timeliness and quality of drug overdose death data
- National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Testimony / Call to Actionexternal icon
- The U.S. National Vital Statistics System: Transitioning Into the 21st Century, 1990–2017pdf icon
- Report: Improving the Timeliness and Quality of State Electronic Death Registration Systemspdf iconexternal icon