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Birth and death records contain more than just your legal name and the date of your birth. These records also include valuable health information used to plan and evaluate public health programs and measure the health of our populace. When you hear about the latest teen pregnancy rates, or read about the number of cancer and heart disease deaths in your community, vital records are the source.


The information collected from birth and death records is de-identified to protect your privacy. It is then aggregated at the state and national levels to produce statistics that become the foundation for program planning, surveillance and research in areas such as maternal and child health, pandemic disease control, health disparity reduction, and the identification of emerging health concerns. It is essential to have accurate data. With so many of our states and territories suffering major budget cuts, it can be difficult to keep electronic systems up to date, maintained, upgraded and connected to other systems.

To help members succeed in these areas, NAPHSIS works with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to improve the stewardship of vital records and statistics.


The Vital Statistics Improvement (VSI) project is a cooperative agreement between NAPHSIS and the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). NAPHSIS is at the heart of a nationwide effort to improve the relevance of the vital statistics used to measure and monitor key health indicators. The VSI project supports and develops automated systems and eases the adoption of national standards for data collection and the reporting of vital events. Jurisdictions have dedicated significant resources toward acquiring modern, web-based systems, providing training to support their vital records operations, and transitioning to the 2003 US standard certificates. However, some vital records offices still struggle to meet data quality and timeliness standards, which impair the use of vital statistics at local, state and national levels. Under the VSI cooperative agreement, NAPHSIS provides on-site and remote technical support to help address longstanding challenges.

Best Practices for Reporting Medical and Health Information on Birth Certificates

 The National Center for Health Statistics, NAPHSIS, and vital statistics agencies across the country have collaborated to create an online course to increase knowledge and awareness of the importance and best practices for reporting birth certificate and report of fetal death information.

The course is geared toward physicians, nurses, and non-clinical staff at hospitals and birth centers responsible for completing the medical and health information for the certificate of live birth and report of fetal death.

After completing the course, individuals have the option to print a certificate of completion or earn continuing education credits.

To access the course, please visit: 

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