RD366 - Report on the Electronic Health Registration System (EDRS) - September, 2016

Executive Summary:
Item 291B of the 2016 Appropriation Act requires the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to report on efforts to address changes to the Electronic Death Registry System that would improve the system to make it easier for filing death certificates, address interoperability concerns by users, and provide technical assistance to system users, and other improvements.

The Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Vital Records is responsible for managing and securing all vital events’ occurring in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This includes births, deaths, marriages, divorces, spontaneous fetal deaths and induced terminations of pregnancies. Over time, this has mostly been a manual process; however, with the creation of the Vital Statistics Automation Fund in the 1990’s, the Virginia Department of Health utilized this funding source and began the process of automating the vital records systems. The Automation Fund receives one dollar for the sale of each certified copy of a record. This Fund is then to be used to support the automation of the vital records systems. Currently births, spontaneous fetal deaths, induced terminations of pregnancies and death certificates are automated. The Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) was implemented in November, 2014 on a voluntary usage basis. The next automation project includes marriages and divorces.

The EDRS was created through a collaborative process involving many stakeholders, including Funeral Homes, the Virginia Funeral Directors Association, the Virginia Morticians Association, the Independent Funeral Homes of Virginia, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, VDH Health Districts, physicians’ associations and practices and many more. The Division of Vital Records, in partnership with the Office of Information Management, spent a great deal of time soliciting feedback from these stakeholders in order to determine the business requirements for the EDRS. An Executive Steering Committee was formed to oversee the project and ensure that functionality was delivered accurately, on time and within budget. Stakeholder feedback and testing was solicited throughout the process and, prior to full implementation, extensive user acceptance testing was held. Additionally, training sessions were held with each stakeholder group before implementation. As with any new implementation, a process was put in place to record “bugs”, as well as desired enhancements and changes. An EDRS helpdesk was established in order to respond to questions and concerns. The EDRS was developed based on stakeholder feedback, statutory and regulatory requirements, and guidance from NAPHSIS, the National Association of Public Health Statistics Information Systems on EDRS systems in other states.