Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
SANTO, Augusto H.; PINHEIRO, Celso E. and RODRIGUES, Eliana M.. Comparative evaluation of underlying causes of death processed by the Automated Classification of Medical Entities and the Underlying Cause of Death Selection Systems. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.32, n.1, pp.1-6. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101998000100001.
INTRODUCTION: The correct identification of the underlying cause of death and its precise assignment to a code from the International Classification of Diseases are important issues to achieve accurate and universally comparable mortality statistics These factors, among other ones, led to the development of computer software programs in order to automatically identify the underlying cause of death. OBJECTIVE: This work was conceived to compare the underlying causes of death processed respectively by the Automated Classification of Medical Entities (ACME) and the "Sistema de Seleção de Causa Básica de Morte" (SCB) programs. MATERIAL AND METHOD: The comparative evaluation of the underlying causes of death processed respectively by ACME and SCB systems was performed using the input data file for the ACME system that included deaths which occurred in the State of S. Paulo from June to December 1993, totalling 129,104 records of the corresponding death certificates. The differences between underlying causes selected by ACME and SCB systems verified in the month of June, when considered as SCB errors, were used to correct and improve SCB processing logic and its decision tables. RESULTS: The processing of the underlying causes of death by the ACME and SCB systems resulted in 3,278 differences, that were analysed and ascribed to lack of answer to dialogue boxes during processing, to deaths due to human immunodeficiency virus [HIV] disease for which there was no specific provision in any of the systems, to coding and/or keying errors and to actual problems. The detailed analysis of these latter disclosed that the majority of the underlying causes of death processed by the SCB system were correct and that different interpretations were given to the mortality coding rules by each system, that some particular problems could not be explained with the available documentation and that a smaller proportion of problems were identified as SCB errors. CONCLUSION: These results, disclosing a very low and insignificant number of actual problems, guarantees the use of the version of the SCB system for the Ninth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases and assures the continuity of the work which is being undertaken for the Tenth Revision version.
Keywords : Underlying cause of death; Information sistems; Vital statistics.