11/18/10 In January 2011, the Indiana State Department of Health will be taking the lead in improving the efficiency of the state’s death records by launching an electronic, Web-based system for recording death, the Indiana Death Registration System.  Approximately 56,000 death records are filed in Indiana every year. 

“Hoosiers will benefit from the modernization of the death registration process in many ways, but perhaps the one most obvious to the general public will be a faster turnaround time for death certificates, from an average of 21 or more days to seven days,” said State Registrar Erin Kellam, Esq. 

According to Kellam, the goal of the Indiana Death Registration System is to enable the participants of the death registration process to electronically file death records with local and state registrars. Registration facilities will access the system online so decedent fact-of-death and cause-of-death information can be registered electronically without the time delay to move the paper record to each person in the process.  For more information, go online at: https://myweb.in.gov/ISDH/IDRSThin

“This system’s ability to report cause of death with increased accuracy and timeliness will improve cause-of-death data for disease surveillance, which will help public health in its efforts to identify concerning trends,” said Kellam. 

The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation in 2009 to require all funeral directors, physicians, and coroners (if it is a coroner’s case) to complete all their portions of a death certificate by using the new system. (See Indiana Code 16-37-1-3.1.) 

The State Registrar and the Office of Vital Records at the Indiana State Department of Health have been working since April 2009 to provide education and training to local health officers, private physicians, coroners, and funeral directors about the Indiana Death Registration System.

According to Kellam, “The Indiana Death Registration System is up and running and we are accepting fully electronic records every day.”

However, to date only 993 of 1,757 funeral directors; 44 of 92 coroners, and 1,807 of an estimated 3,000 physicians who file death certificates in Indiana have registered as users of the Indiana Death Registration System, despite the fact paper death certificates will no longer be accepted starting January 1, 2011.

“We are concerned everyone is waiting until the last minute to register for the system,” said Kellam.  “I urge all funeral directors, coroners, and physicians who handle death certificates get registered as soon as possible and start using the IDRS to avoid delays in death records being processed.  Such a delay would be unnecessary and unfair to the family members who need the death certificate for the “business side” such as collecting life insurance funds, receiving pension or other benefits, of losing a loved one.”

Kellam says additional trainings will be offered in the coming months, including in-person trainings on November 18 at Wishard Hospital and the Indiana Veterans’ Hospital and a Webinar training on December 15 at 7 a.m., Noon, and 6 p.m. (EST).  Participants can view the Webinar trainings by logging on to http://media.ihets.org/isdh