Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Statewide Implementation of Electronic Reporting of Death Records

Last Updated: May 26, 2016

By Michael D.I. Siget, JD, MPA, PAMED's Legislative & Regulatory Counsel

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) announced its statewide rollout of the Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS). The EDRS supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics' (NCHS) goal of improving the timeliness of mortality data through a network of state-based electronic death registration systems.

Mike-SigetThe EDRS is a free web-based application that links all stakeholders involved with completing death records electronically in reporting data to DOH. Instead of using paper forms to register deaths, stakeholders will use the web-based application after they have been trained to use the system.

The information collected through EDRS will be the same information as collected on the current paper forms. Information obtained through EDRS will be reported to NCHS, thereby providing near real-time surveillance to improve public health preparedness.

DOH notes that the benefits of using an electronic system will result in more accurate reporting of deaths, the ability to use this system at home or work, and a reduction of data-related errors that may occur by allowing entry of amendments and corrections more easily.

Upon implementation of the plan, DOH will accept only electronic death registrations (with the exception of fetal deaths) filed through EDRS.

DOH conducted a pilot study in Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties in early 2016, determining that it will implement the EDRS system in two phrases through the remainder of 2016:

  • The first phase will begin in the third quarter of 2016, and include funeral directors, coroners, medical examiners, and local registrars.
  • The second phase will consist of the remaining medical certifiers and licensed health care facilities with training beginning in late 2016 and concluding in the spring of 2017.

Once training is complete, users will be required to report their information through EDRS. Users of EDRS will be required to sign a user agreement and confidentiality policy at the conclusion of training. These documents acknowledge receipt of training and provide the user with terms for system use. Once DOH receives the signed document, the user will be given access to EDRS.

Those with questions may call Frank Caniglia, Director, Division of Statistical Registries, at (717) 547-3696.

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