National Vital Statistics System

Writing Cause-of-Death Statements


Improving Cause of Death Reporting

Improving Cause-of-Death Reporting

Program Description / Objectives / Instructions for Obtaining Continuing Education

This training will help you better understand why it is important to accurately document the cause of death on the death certificate and how to use your best medical judgment to determine accurate information. The training will discuss how cause of death information is used, how to complete the death certificate, when to refer cases to the coroner or medical examiner, and where to find additional information.

The training will discuss the importance of cause-of-death reporting. What a physician writes in the certificate’s ‘cause-of-death’ section is as important to public health practitioners as what a physician writes in a patient’s medical chart is to patient care. Cause-of-death information is used to detect trends, such as those listed on this screen, that determine public health programs and health care funding allocations. Aside from the public health significance, it is part of a permanent legal record. Physicians must use their best medical judgment to determine the cause-of-death.

Screenshot, ICD-10 Interactive Self Learning Tool

ICD-10 Training ToolExternal

The ICD-10 training tool is an interactive self training that will allow you to understand and use ICD-10. User specific paths include a fast track for e.g. managers, and an in depth training for coders. The tool contains sections on: ICD coding; certification of death; ethics and confidentiality; quality assurance; statistical presentation; rules for mortality and morbidity coding; and basic medical knowledge.

White Papers


Reference Sheets






Special Guidelines



Page last reviewed: August 13, 2018