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Assessing Electronic Death Registration and American Red Cross Systems for Mortality Surveillance During Hurricane Sandy, October 29–November 10, 2012, New York City

  • Renata E. Howland (a1), Ann M. Madsen (a1), Leze Nicaj (a2), Rebecca S. Noe (a3), Mary Casey-Lockyer (a4) and Elizabeth Begier (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

We briefly describe 2 systems that provided disaster-related mortality surveillance during and after Hurricane Sandy in New York City, namely, the New York City Health Department Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) and the American Red Cross paper-based tracking system.

Methods

Red Cross fatality data were linked with New York City EDRS records by using decedent name and date of birth. We analyzed cases identified by both systems for completeness and agreement across selected variables and the time interval between death and reporting in the system.

Results

Red Cross captured 93% (41/44) of all Sandy-related deaths; the completeness and quality varied by item, and timeliness was difficult to determine. The circumstances leading to death captured by Red Cross were particularly useful for identifying reasons individuals stayed in evacuation zones. EDRS variables were nearly 100% complete, and the median interval between date of death and reporting was 6 days (range: 0-43 days).

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that a number of steps have the potential to improve disaster-related mortality surveillance, including updating Red Cross surveillance forms and electronic databases to enhance timeliness assessments, greater collaboration across agencies to share and use data for public health preparedness, and continued expansion of electronic death registration systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:489-491)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Renata E. Howland, MPH, Research Analyst, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, NY 11101 (e-mail: rroney@health.nyc.gov).

References

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1. New York City Mayor’s Office. Hurricane Sandy After Action: Report and Recommendations to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, May 2013. http://www.nyc.gov/html/recovery/downloads/pdf/sandy_aar_5.2.13.pdf. Accessed July 30, 2013.
2. Chiu, CH, Schnall, AH, Mertzlufft, CE, et al. Mortality from a tornado outbreak, Alabama, April 27, 2011. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(8):e52-e58.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tornado-related fatalities--five states, southeastern United States, April 25-28, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012;61(28):529-533.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths associated with Hurricane Sandy - October-November 2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013;62(20):393-397.
5. Farag, NH, Rey, A, Noe, R, et al. Evaluation of the American Red Cross disaster-related mortality surveillance system using Hurricane Ike data--Texas 2008. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2013;7(1):13-19.
6. World Health Organization. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. 10th Revision, Edition 2010. World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland; 2010.
7. Electronic death registration systems by jurisdiction, Updated April 2014, NAPHSIS Web site. http://www.naphsis.org/about/Documents/EDRS_Development_with_territories_Apr_2014.pptx.Accessed November 10, 2014.
8. Percentage of Fully Electronic Death Records Filed Using Electronic Death Registration Systems, Updated January 2011, NAPHSIS Web site. http://www.naphsis.org/Pages/ElectronicSystems.aspx. Accessed July 20, 2012.
9. Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/capabilities/. Accessed November 18, 2013.

Keywords

Assessing Electronic Death Registration and American Red Cross Systems for Mortality Surveillance During Hurricane Sandy, October 29–November 10, 2012, New York City

  • Renata E. Howland (a1), Ann M. Madsen (a1), Leze Nicaj (a2), Rebecca S. Noe (a3), Mary Casey-Lockyer (a4) and Elizabeth Begier (a1)...

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