Presentation, communication and dissemination of vital statistics
Users of vital statistics
Users can broadly be divided into two groups: government departments responsible for registration, statistics, health and justice, who also are producers of the data; and other users such as other government departments, the media, donors and development agencies, academics and researchers, funds and foundations and private businesses such as insurance companies, funeral services, and so on. To ensure that the information is truly accessible, delivered in the right format at the right time to this varied group, it is necessary that there is regular consultation and coordination between those producing the data and those who use them. In many countries, the communication between the producers and users of vital statistics is not functioning well. This contributes to misunderstandings and hinders efforts to improve data and enhance their use.
Vital statistics have often been called the cornerstone of the health information system and their use in the health sector is growing, particularly since technologies have made it possible to combine other information with them. Mortality and cause of death data are increasingly being used as surveillance tools. In complete and functional systems with online monitoring, changes or spatial differences in the number of deaths can alert the health system to epidemics and/or regional inequalities.