Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
March 6, 2000
The Department of Health and Senior Services ( DHSS ) has begun a pilot program which is the first in the nation to allow electronic filing of death certificates over the Internet.
The first participant in the Electronic Death Record System ( EDRS ) is Chilton Memorial Hospital, in partnership with the local registrars in Morris and Passaic counties. During the last week in February, the State Registrar's office received its first electronic filing.
"Electronic filing is quicker, more accurate and easier for all those involved. It also enables the department to better collect important data on mortality, so we can refine programs aimed at improving public health," said Commissioner Christine Grant.
Currently, physicians, hospital officials, nursing homes administrators, funeral directors, local registrars and medical examiners need to fill out the necessary information to complete a death certificate. The local registrar then reviews the certificate for accuracy before forwarding it to the State Registrar's office. The department receives approximately 75,000 death certificates annually.
The new system allows the participants to record the necessary information on the death certificate by accessing a secure website maintained by the Office of Information Technology on behalf of the DHSS. The forms are signed digitally and submitted to the local registrar, who then forwards the completed form to the State Registrar.
Aside from providing death registry data in a more timely manner and making it easier to issue certified copies of death records, the information will allow the department to collect better statistics on mortality in New Jersey. For example, the new system will collect information on all causes contributing to a death, not just the primary cause.
Commissioner Grant added, "The electronic death certificate is an example of our commitment to using up-to-date technology to collect and manage public health data and vital records."
Security measures are in place to insure the confidentiality of all records. Access to the death record will automatically lock should any unauthorized person try to obtain information.
A paper copy of each death certificate will continue to be maintained by the State Registrar and the Secretary of State's, Division of Archives.
The State Registrar's office goal is to expand the program statewide by promoting the new system directly to hospitals, funeral directors, local registrars and medical examiners throughout New Jersey.
Officials involved in filing death certificates can contact the State Registrar's office at (609) 984-3445, to learn more about the new Internet-based system.