Minnesota Death Data Delivery (QI Forum: Cross-Jurisdictional Project)


Impact Statement: 
For health department services that have a major impact on citizens, ensuring high client satisfaction is important to the public’s understanding and support for these services. Three state health departments teamed together to improve the timeliness of death data, using the Kaizen method for improvement. The initial problem was an unnecessary delay in releasing death data that affected multiple beneficiaries negatively. The QI project team worked to decrease elapsed time from fact of death registration to issuance of a death certificate to families, to improve availability of certificates within 10 days, and to decrease elapsed time from the MN Office of Vital Records receiving ICD-10 coded records to sharing real-time death data. The QI team improved data availability from 18 months to 1 week and improved auto-coded ICD-10 codes to 85% (9/15) from the 2015 average of 72%.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored four QI projects to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of federal agency public health programs delivered at the state and local levels. The projects focused on achieving measurable improvement results to benefit affected stakeholders at all program levels, while increasing the knowledge and enthusiasm for continual QI. The four focus areas are as follows: 

  • Data utilization: Decrease time to transfer applicable, accurate death record data from state to local health departments.
  • Data utilization replication: Decrease time for complete death record data and to transfer applicable, accurate death record data from state to local health departments.
  • Grant application: Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the grant writing process.
  • QI spread: Accelerate progress toward a culture of quality in public health target areas.

The Minnesota Death Data Delivery project was a slight replication of the North Carolina Death Data Utilization project. The Minnesota team used the Kaizen event approach to complete all steps of the improvement cycle in 5 days. The steps were as follows:

  1. Understand the gap/goal and the current state in order to identify waste in the targeted work process.
  2. Analyze the root causes of the prioritized issues to identify solutions.
  3. Develop and test solutions to learn.
  4. Develop and test solutions to learn.
  5. Install improvements and create a system for ongoing improvement.

As the event progressed, many QI and change management methods and techniques were applied.

Additional benefits included the following:

  • Quality improvements of in-process data and reductions in labor (e.g., system-generated e-mails)
  • Incorporated cremation authorization in the new process
  • Increased efficiency and use of the electronic vital records system (Minnesota Registration & Certification [MR&C]) (improved system navigation and decreased paper processing)
Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 

Crawford, M. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Minnesota Death Data Delivery (QI Forum: Cross-Jurisdictional Project). Mon, 02/29/2016 - 14:40. Available at https://phqix.org/content/minnesota-death-data-delivery-qi-forum-cross-jurisdictional-project. Accessed July 24, 2024.

Submission Status: 
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