The Autopsy, medicine, and mortality statistics
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The Autopsy, medicine, and mortality statistics

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    The series of articles in this report document the value of autopsy in health care and health statistics and provides educational information about completing cause-of-death statements. Autopsy information has long been an essential tool for quality control of medical care and for enhancing the quality of cause-of-death information reported on the death certificate. Recognizing that the use of autopsy has declined considerably in the past 50 years as documented in vital statistics, the autopsy is nevertheless regarded as an important tool in medical practice and in improving the cause-of-death data. An ample body of literature shows not only the medical values of autopsy, but also its importance in bench marking the quality of cause-of-death data. Death certificate information is a major source of statistical data to identify public health problems, to monitor progress in public health, to allocate research funds, and to conduct scientific research. For these reasons, good reporting of cause of death is very important. The articles illustrate many of the basic principles in cause-of-death reporting: intellectual process of determining the best medical opinion of cause of death, separation of contributing causes in Part 2 of the medical certification from the sequence of conditions reported in Part 1, report of a single condition per line, avoidance of abbreviations, and amendment of the record if additional information becomes available later. This report provides additional examples of cause-of-death statements to supplement those available from State and Federal vital statistics programs (e.g., Dr. Hanzlick, the editor of the report, continues his important contribution to the National Vital Statistics System and in particular to the quality of national mortality data. NCHS is pleased to assist the College of American Pathologists in promoting the distribution of these articles, which previously appeared in Archives of Internal Medicine.

    "Articles previously published separately in Archives of Internal Medicine. Randy Hanzlick, M.D. (Editor) and the Autopsy Committee of the College of American Pathologists. Produced with Permission of the Archives of Internal Medicine and the American Medical Association. Published by the National Center for Health Statistics."

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    [Randy Hanzlick (editor) and the Autopsy Committee of the College of American Pathologists].

    Includes bibliographical references.

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