Improving the Mortality Data Infrastructure for Patient-Centered Outcomes (PCOR)

Improving existing data infrastructure to support more timely and complete mortality data collection.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 



Start Date
  • 4/3/2015


  • Standardized Collection of Standardized Clinical Data
  • Linking of Clinical and Other Data for Research


STATUS: Active Project


Comprised of all U.S. mortality events since 1979, the National Death Index (NDI) database allows researchers to match entries in the NDI to those participating in longitudinal clinical and epidemiologic studies to determine both fact and cause of death. A significant challenge with the NDI has been the lag between the date of death and the availability of the record for matching purposes.


The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is working to improve the infrastructure to support more timely and complete mortality data collection through more timely delivery of state death records (e.g., cause of death) to the NDI database and through linking NDI records with nationally collected hospital datasets to obtain a more complete picture of patient care. The CDC is engaged in three inter‑related tasks to enhance the national mortality system:

  • Strengthen existing state mortality data collection infrastructure by supporting state efforts to enhance and upgrade existing Electronic Death Registration Systems (EDRS) to forge a comprehensive network that support electronic data transfer to the NDI for the more timely delivery of state records.

  • Pilot draft national standards for the exchange, including bi-directional exchange, of relevant electronic death data from EHRs to EDRSs.

  • Pilot the linkage of the National Hospital Care Survey in‑patient and emergency department data with the NDI to assess the feasibility, validity, and reliability of measuring in‑patient and post‑discharge mortality.