Teaching cause-of-death certification: Lessons from international experience

Aung, E, Rao, C and Walker, S (2010) Teaching cause-of-death certification: Lessons from international experience. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 86 1013: 143-152. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2009.089821

Author Aung, E
Rao, C
Walker, S
Title Teaching cause-of-death certification: Lessons from international experience
Journal name Postgraduate Medical Journal   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0032-5473
Publication date 2010-03
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1136/pgmj.2009.089821
Volume 86
Issue 1013
Start page 143
End page 152
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BMJ Group
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background and objective The accuracy of cause-of-death statistics substantially depends on the quality of cause-of-death information in death certificates, primarily completed by medical doctors. Deficiencies in cause-of-death certification have been observed across the world, and over time. Despite educational interventions targeted at improving the quality of death certification, their intended impacts are rarely evaluated. This review aims to provide empirical evidence that could guide the modification of existing educational programmes, or the development of new interventions, which are necessary to improve the capacity of certifiers as well as the quality of cause-of-death certification, and thereby, the quality of mortality statistics.

A literature review using keywords: death; certification; education/training.

Data sources
The primary search through PubMed. Reference lists in individual articles from the primary search and also manual searching of other databases such as Google Scholar and OpenDOAR.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
Evaluation studies which assessed educational interventions for medical students and doctors on correct completion of death certificates.

All educational interventions identified in this review improved certain aspects of death certification although the statistical significance of evaluation results varies with the type of intervention: printed educational material alone being the intervention with the least educational impact and interactive workshops being the most effective intervention.

Conclusions Pragmatic education on best practice for cause-of-death certification is a basic step to ensure accurate information for each individual case, leading to the production of high quality mortality statistics for epidemiology, public health policy and research. Development of new educational interventions or modification of existing programmes should be based on evidence of the benefits from current and past interventions provided under varying circumstances.
Keyword Mortality statistics
General practitioners
Family physicians
Vital statistics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 20 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 27 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 04 Apr 2010, 00:01:31 EST