Volume 41, Issue 1 (January 1996)
The Abstractability and Consistency of Medical Examiner/Coroner Reports: Results from the 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey Pilot
The 1993 National Mortality Followback Survey (NMFS) is designed to provide national estimates of important characteristics of the 2,218,940 people aged 15 years and older who died in 1993. One topic of special interest in the survey is injury-related deaths. Previous followback surveys have not obtained data from medical examiner and coroner offices (ME/Cs), who investigate most injury-related deaths. In this study, we sought to determine the feasibility of collecting data from various ME/C offices for the NMFS and the usefulness and limitations of data derived from their records.
Methods. We 1) developed a pilot survey instrument, the Medical Examiner/Coroner Abstract (MECA); 2) attempted to collect ME/C records on 159 deaths from 55 ME/C offices in four states with a variety of death investigation systems; and 3) assessed the feasibility of abstracting data from these records using the MECA.
Results. We received records on 105 deaths from 39 ME/C offices in three states. We identified items that could be abstracted from the records of most deaths and found that different abstractors could reproducibly and reliably identify information on these core items. Using the results of this study, we revised the MECA for use in the NMFS.