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State pilots new electronic death registry

A new electronic registry is modernizing the process by which death data is collected in Kentucky to increase efficiency and make reporting simpler.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, in conjunction with its Office of Vital Statistics has designed, developed and piloted a new Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) that is changing the way in which information for death certificates is collected and processed in the Commonwealth. The new web-based system is used by funeral home directors and funeral home director assistants, medical certifiers and medical certifier assistants, local coroner’s offices, and vital statistics personnel.
“The state death registry is a crucial piece of our work in Vital Statistics,” said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “For some time, we relied on an inefficient, paper-based system that often resulted in delay in obtaining records. The new electronic death registry dramatically improves our death reporting system and the speed with which we are able to serve Kentuckians.”
Before the introduction of the EDRS pilot, obtaining information for death registration in Kentucky involved several manual steps and very few automated procedures that were time consuming and created an environment ripe for error and delay, according to DPH.
The piloting phase of the EDRS project began July 1, and has proven to be a success, according to DPH.  Based on the excellent experience up to this point, it is hoped that EDRS can be launched statewide in the near future.

The KY-EDRS provides many benefits:
Expedited death registration process 
* Electronic submission and workflow eliminates the time involved in mailing or delivering death certificate information to other parties.

Increased accuracy of death certificates
* Edits built into the system will prevent many data reporting errors and omissions.

Electronic communication between system users
* Funeral home directors and staff, medical certifiers and staff, and coroner’s offices are electronically notified when they have been assigned or reassigned a death certificate.  Message boards give funeral home and medical certifier users the ability to attach electronic messages to records.

Tracking of status of death certificates
* Users of the KY-EDRS have the ability to view the status of death certificates to determine the current stage of processing the document.
Verification of social security numbers
* A link between the KY-EDRS and the Social Security Administration allows real-time verification of social security numbers and eliminates the need to prepare Form SSA-721 in cases of successful verifications.

Streamlined process for ordering death verifications, Veterans Administration copies, and certified death certificates
* Funeral home personnel have the ability to place orders for death verifications, Veterans Administration death certificates and certified copies of death certificates within the KY-EDRS at the time of filing.

Export data function
* Funeral homes that utilize management software packages have the ability to export data from the KY-EDRS to the management software package, eliminating the need for duplicate entry of records.
Preparation and completion of an electronic death certificate follows the steps listed below. 

Funeral director takes possession of the deceased
* When a funeral director takes possession of the deceased, the funeral director portion of the death certificate can be completed electronically.  If the medical certifier is a KY-EDRS user, the funeral director electronically signs the certificate and electronically submits it to the medical certifier.   
* If the medical certifier is NOT a KY-EDRS user, the funeral director completes the funeral director’s portion, prints the certificate and manually forwards the printed certificate to the medical certifier.  This process is called “Drop-to-Paper”.

Medical certifier receives death certificate from funeral director
* If the medical certifier is a KY-EDRS user, the death certificate will be received electronically from the funeral director.  After verification that the death certificate belongs to the assigned medical certifier, the medical portion can be completed electronically, electronically signed by the medical certifier, and electronically submitted to the OVS for further processing.     If the medical certifier detects any errors in the funeral director’s portion of the certificate, the medical certifier may electronically reassign the certificate to the funeral director. 
* If the medical certifier is NOT a KY-EDRS user, he/she will receive a paper copy of the certificate from the funeral director.  The medical certifier will manually complete and return the certificate to the funeral director for submission to the OVS according to current procedures.

Office of Vital Statistics (OVS)
* If the medical certifier is a KY-EDRS user, the medical certifier will electronically submit the death certificate to the OVS.  OVS personnel will review the certificate and if any discrepancies are found, the OVS has the ability to reassign directly to the funeral director, medical certifier, or both.  If no discrepancies are found, the OVS staff will complete the filing of the death certificate and assign a state file number.   Requests for copies and certified copies will be processed.
* If the medical certifier is NOT a KY-EDRS user, the completed paper copy of the certificate will be returned to the funeral home, and the funeral home will send the certificate to the OVS.  The certificate is then reviewed by the OVS and processed in accordance with current procedures.

Tracking of status
* Users of the KY-EDRS have the ability to track the status of a death certificate from the time it is started through completion.

Electronic notification
* KY-EDRS users can be notified via email whenever a KY-EDRS case is assigned to them.  Additionally, KY-EDRS users have the option of being notified via email whenever the status of a death certificate changes.


Last Updated 8/11/2010