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Automated verbal autopsy

Elements of automated verbal autopsy

In summary, automated verbal autopsies have three elements:

  • A questionnaire to collect information from the family of the deceased about signs and symptoms preceding death, coupled with electronic data collection and management software such as Open Data Kit (ODK) (
  • An automated diagnostic algorithm to generate the most probable COD based on the responses to the questionnaire.
  • A target COD list, which includes all causes that can be diagnosed with reasonable accuracy. The target COD lists are to the same level of detail as the ICD, but cover causes of death of health concern and typically account for over 85% of leading causes of deaths in the three age-groups (stillbirths and neonates, children and adults) 

There are two VA packages that combine these elements:

  • The short form of the PHMRC VA questionnaire along with the Tariff2.0 automated diagnostic method, form an integrated data collection and analysis package known as SmartVA.
  • The WHO 2016 verbal autopsy tool consists of the WHO 2016 questionnaire and diagnostic algorithms, InterVA, Tariff and InSilico.

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