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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 2000;22(2): 124-135.
Actual Conditions and Pitfalls of Death Statistics Based on the Current Death Registration System in Korea.
Jin Ho Chun, Kyung Sook Lee
1Department of Preventive Medicine, Inje University.
2Yangsan City Health Center.
BACKGROUND: Death statistics is the most basic one among health-related statistics. This study was conducted to propose actual data to improve the quality of death statistics through a review of the contents of total registered death reports which are primary sources of death statistics.
The author reviewed the recent regulations about the death registration and analyzed contents of the total 1,383 death certificates written out from January, 1998 to December, 1999 in a county of Kyungsangnamdo, Korea.
The two laws - the Family Registration Act and the Medical Act that mainly control death registration, and the two legal forms - death certificates and death report form that actually used were not accorded. This is a reason why there occurred frequent mistakes in the current death registration. Also, there was no way to correct the incomplete contents of death certificate primarily written by doctors. Among 1,383 death report cases, 83.9% of death was due to illness. The causes of the death were generally incredible; diverse expression even on the same disease, incorrect and inadequate expression, not standardized by standard classification of disease, and unwritten or 'unknown' especially in case of the intermediate underlying and underlying cause. The major place of death was home(67.8%) and medical facilities(22.3%). And, it considered that the welfare facilities should be added as one of the place of death. The proportion of the doctors' diagnosis for death was as high as 96.6%, however, the death certificates issued by a clinic had many problems in aspect of accuracy and completeness. In the time spent for the death report, 98.0% reported within the legal term of one month.
The authors propose the followings to improve the quality of death statistics. First of all, contents of the two laws should be unified. Secondly, concerns and professionalism of the personnel who deal with death registration are should be strengthened. Thirdly, the regular and reinforcing training for the doctors and the officials who issue the death certificates should be emphasized with consistent upgrade of the standard guidelines. Fourthly, the death reporting system should be qualified through the validation of the contents of the death report forms, i.e., checked by medical doctor or medical professionals in the Community Health Center in the process of the receipt, informing, and report.
Keywords: Death registration; Pitfalls; Death statistics; Quality
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