Issues for causes of death data:
- Completeness of the dataset e.g. impact of registration lags, processing lags and duplicate records.
- Extent of coverage of the population (while all deaths are legally required to be registered some cases may not be registered for an extended time, if at all).
- Some lack of consistency in the application of questions or forms used by administrative data providers.
- The level of specificity and completeness in coronial reports or doctor's findings on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.
- Errors in the coding of the causes of a death to ICD-10. The majority of cause of death coding is undertaken through an automated coding process, which is estimated to have a very high level of accuracy. Human coding can be subject to error, however the ABS mitigates this risk through rigorous coder training, detailed documentation and instructions for coding complex or difficult cases, and extensive data quality checks.
- Cases where coronial proceedings remain open at the end of ABS processing for a reference period are potentially assigned a less specific ICD-10 cause of death code.
- Where coroner certified deaths become closed during the revisions process, additional information is often made available making more specific coding possible.