Modernizing the National Vital Statistics System
The Need for Vital Statistics
NCHS partners with 57 jurisdictions across the country to collect, analyze, and share vital statistics data. Vital statistics data guide investments to improve health and help measure the success of those investments. Vital statistics provide insight into important trends in health, including the impact of chronic conditions, progress on reducing deaths due to motor vehicle accidents, and the evolving challenge of substance abuse. Jurisdictions rely on birth and death records for a variety of administrative needs, and also use vital statistics to inform decisions aimed at improving health and healthcare.
Public Health Impact
The vital statistics system is a key part of the public health infrastructure, providing the best and most complete information on populations and health outcomes. Investments in the vital statistics infrastructure can improve health, reduce costs, strengthen national security, and increase resilience to outbreaks, disasters and other crises. Vital statistics inform public health efforts at the community, local, state and national levels.
A Project to Modernize the National Vital Statistics System
In September 2016 NCHS launched a project to modernize the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), focused on mortality data and statistics. The project seeks to improve the ability of state, federal and local stakeholders to make critical policy and funding decisions based upon timely, accurate mortality data. The project is exploring financing models for mortality data services and will pilot new electronic death registration capabilities. The project’s mission is to develop a sustainable, modern, accessible system for collecting, sharing and using mortality data.
The project will benefit public health by providing a modernized death registration system to improve understanding of health risks and identify opportunities for effective interventions at all levels. NCHS will have the capacity to meet its responsibilities to collect and share vital statistics, which will in turn lead to improved health outcomes.
The project team will engage with stakeholders from across the mortality data ecosystem to develop financing models for NVSS, the National Death Index (NDI), and next-generation (Next Gen) Electronic Death Registration Systems (EDRS). The team will define the Next Gen EDRS, and pilot the resulting capability, focused initially on jurisdictions without EDRS. Stakeholder engagement will include partnering with a diverse community of data collectors and users of vital statistics data.
The Modernizing the National Vital Statistics System project team welcomes all members of the vital statistics community and users of vital statistics data to inquire further about the project and provide insights.