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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

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Because these records cover every event that occurs in the United States, they provide highly dense and detailed information.

As a result, they can be used to estimate the occurrence of rare events and provide data on very rare causes of death. This makes it possible to learn about rare disorders, at least to the extent that they end in deaths.

The preparation of standard records of vital events constitutes a major challenge.
  • Vital records are dependent on accurate and consistent recording of facts related to the event.
  • Studies have shown that classification is an important source of uncertainty. For example, there are inconsistencies in the reporting of American Indian affiliation between birth and death records.
  • Cause of death information depends on physician or coroner choices that can also vary.
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