For many in the United States, the knowledge around the importance of Vital Records is minimal, even though information and tracking are key to the health of our world. Data access for Vital Records has recently increased in production, accuracy, and timeliness of delivery for this crucial information. This is due in large part to help from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
So, why should this matter to you?
First, fast access to accurate data saves lives.
With the advancement and improvement of state Vital Records systems and processes, decision makers like the CDC are able to analyze the information, see patterns of disease within population areas, and take action on “significant population health concerns.” The CDC, as well as other organizations, rely on the data provided by local and state Vital Records offices (and those offices in turn rely on the doctors, hospitals, funeral homes, and many others) to provide data on births, deaths, and a host of other information. You can see how this gets complicated…and why modernization of the process helps at every step of the data’s journey, from an individual to a physician to Vital Records to CDC.
Second, fast access to accurate data keeps us healthier.
Tracking health problems, such as cancer or an Ebola breakout, is a challenge. Being able to discern the origin, cause, degree of spread and populations most affected, are crucial for controlling illnesses. Fast, accurate data is the top priority. In today’s world, accurate not only means true, detailed data, but timely as well. The more real-time the data is, the more valuable it is to study and make quicker, more informed decisions that save lives. Today, organizations like CDC and the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) are making headway by dedicating resources to continual modernization of the Vital Records systems across the country. This allows near real-time access to data, focused attention to analyzing patterns, and ultimately, improving the quality of life for individuals across the world.
One example of the impact of Vital Records can be seen in the recent allocation of resources in trying to reverse the rise of substance-related deaths, particularly the rise of opioid related deaths. Because of prompt data provided to the CDC and organizations like NAPHSIS from modernized Vital Records systems and programs, they were able to pin point the death trend, and have begun working to fix this serious public health concern.
Without good Vital Records data it is impossible to accurately track disease and health patterns, therefore limiting the ability to disperse needed cures, resources, and help to the affected areas and populations. State Vital Records offices are the key providers of health data, and as such, they are meeting the needs of the 21st century world one record at a time.
So, why should Vital Records matter to you? Put simply: Vital Records data saves lives and makes our world a healthier place to live.
‘Till Death Do Us Part: NAPHSIS and Partners Talk Value of Death Data on Capitol Hill | NAPHSIS
Modernizing the National Vital Statistics System | NCHS
CDC Works to Improve Public Health Data Analytics, Surveillance | Jennifer Bresnick
The U.S. Vital Statistics System: A National Perspective | NCHS
The U.S. Vital Statistics System: The Role of State and Local Health Departments | Steven Schwartz