Wrong Cause of Death
The US Federal Government has spent over $30 Billion to subsidize adoption of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR). Medical systems and physician practices have spent billions more. Yet 1 in 3 death certificates cite the wrong cause of death, according to a recent study. There is a dire need for information coordination and quality before we can worry about interoperability.
New York City, in the early aughts, had one of the highest rates of heart disease deaths in the nation. Nearly 40 percent of deaths there were attributed officially to heart disease, according to Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics.
But the statistic didn’t align with New York’s risk factors for heart disease — most notably, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure — which should’ve put the city at or below the 2003 national average of roughly 28 percent. So the NYC Health Department launched a validation study of death certificates across the area’s 70 hospitals in 2010. It found a 91 percent overreporting of coronary heart disease (CHD) as the cause of death.
Finding mistakes on death certificates is not just a New York City problem — it’s widespread. In fact, according to various studies:
ROUGHLY A THIRD OF U.S. DEATH CERTIFICATES INCLUDE AN INACCURATE CAUSE OF DEATH.
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