Using death certificate data to study place of death in 9 European countries: opportunities and weaknesses


Cohen, Joachim, Bilsen, Johan, Miccinesi, Guido, Löfmark, Rurik, Addington-Hall, Julia, Kaasa, Stein, Norup, Michael, van der Wal, Gerrit and Deliens, Luc (2007) Using death certificate data to study place of death in 9 European countries: opportunities and weaknesses. BMC Public Health, 7, (283), 1-9. (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-283).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-7-283

Description/Abstract

Background:
Systematic and reliable epidemiological information at population level, preferably cross-national, is needed for an adequate planning of (end-of-life) health care policies, e.g. concerning place of death, but is currently lacking. This study illustrates opportunities and weaknesses of death certificate data to provide such information on place of death and associated factors in nine European countries (seven entire countries and five regions).

Methods:
We investigated the possibility and modality of all partners in this international comparative study (BE, DK, IT, NL, NO, SE, UK) to negotiate a dataset containing all deaths of one year with their national/regional administration of mortality statistics, and analysed the availability of information about place of death as well as a number of clinical, socio-demographic, residential and healthcare system factors.

Results:
All countries negotiated a dataset, but rules, procedures, and cost price to get the data varied strongly between countries. In total, about 1.1 million deaths were included. For four of the nine countries not all desired categories for place of death were available. Most desired clinical and socio-demographic information was available, be it sometimes via linkages with other population databases. Healthcare system factors could be made available by linking existing healthcare statistics to the residence of the deceased.

Conclusion:
Death certificate data provide information on place of death and on possibly associated factors and confounders in all studied countries. Hence, death certificate data provide a unique opportunity for cross-national studying and monitoring of place of death. However, modifications of certain aspects of death certificate registration and rules of data-protection are perhaps required to make international monitoring of place of death more feasible and accurate.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1471-2458 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: death certificate, public health policy, healthcare
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4450 Databases
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > Superseded (SONM) > Superseded (CPE)
ePrint ID: 50530
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2014 14:08
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/50530

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