The value of cause of death data

Medical certification of cause of death

Coding causes of death to statistical categories
The International Classification of Diseases

Cause of death: where there is no physician
Verbal autopsy diagnostic algorithms

Automated verbal autopsy
What is automated verbal autopsy and how does it differ from medical certification of cause of death?

Incorporating verbal autopsy into the civil registration and vital statistics system

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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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