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Welcome to Maine's Electronic Death Registration System Overview. Throughout this overview we refer to it as EDRS.

Our objectives are that you will:

  1. Understand the benefits of using the electronic death registration system to certify deaths
  2. Become familiar with navigating through the EDRS
  3. And know how to request training.

What is Maine's Electronic Death Registration System?
The EDRS enables participants of death registration, to complete and file death certificates electronically, using a web-based system. Access to EDRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure the timely completion of death certificates.

The EDRS facilitates online collaboration amongst multiple death registration system users, including funeral homes, hospitals, institutions, nursing homes, clinicians, medical examiners and local and state registrars. This multiple user collaboration has significantly improved the timeliness of registering death certificates, by utilizing the EDRS. Electronic amendment and correction features, allow for quicker processing of changes on death certificates and, certified copies of death certificates can be obtained at municipal offices or from Vital Records.

Who Uses Maine's EDRS?
The registration of a death certificate involves funeral practitioners, clinicians, medical examiners, institutions, municipal clerks, and the State. The participants involved in the death registration process are faced with the need to complete their portion of the death certificate according to time requirements specified in department rules, which may require them to set aside other pressing business requirements.

EDRS reduces the number of days it takes to complete and register the death certificate by eliminating the need for business partners to mail and or hand carry the death certificate through to completion and registration.

Who Benefits from using the EDRS?
Medical professionals, funeral practitioners, public health researchers, federal, state and local agencies and families of the deceased.

Some of the benefits to clinicians include: Online access; tools to help those who certify infrequently; hint text for completing data fields, less contact with funeral practitioners and shared case responsibility. Fewer corrections are needed, due to error checking features - which identify common mistakes; and patient files are closed more quickly so families receive death certificates faster. Additionally, the quality of data is improved because of system checks against the accuracy and completeness of the death data entered.

Some of the EDRS benefits for medical examiners include: Electronic referrals; including amendments, and cremation clearances.

Some of the EDRS benefits for funeral practitioners are: Online collaboration amongst multiple users; improved timeliness; improved quality of data through edit checks; electronic referrals for amendments; less travel to clinician offices and Social Security Number verification.

Some of the benefits to public health are: Faster disease tracking and monitoring of public health concerns; quick reaction time to health threats; fraud reduction; improved disease surveillance; and improved public health data. EDRS also helps to identify areas for medical research and public health funding.

Some of the benefits to the decedent's family are: That funeral arrangements are less likely to be delayed and electronic death certificates are now available from municipal and State offices.

This is important because until the family of the deceased has a certified death certificate on hand, the family would most likely be unable to: Access bank accounts; notify and pay utilities and creditors; receive life insurance benefits; or open estates for probate. Obtaining a death certificate as soon as possible is one thing the decedent’s family should not have to worry about during the grieving process.

The main EDRS benefit to federal, state and local agencies is the improved timeliness and accuracy of data. Accurate cause of death and manner of death data is crucial so that diagnoses do not go under or over reported.

The clinician's primary responsibility in death registration is reporting the cause of death and completing the medical portion of the death certificate. The medical portion of the death certificate includes: The date and time of death; the place of death; the cause of death; certifying the death certificate and other factors such as the manner of death, tobacco use, pregnancy status, autopsy findings, the medical release number and whether or not the Medical Examiner was contacted. If the cause of death is other than natural, the case should be referred to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Completing the Death Certificate takes a team! Now that you know how the information recorded is used, and who is involved in completing the death certificate, you can see why your role is so important.

In the next section, we will go through each of the EDRS registration pages. You will find information on how to obtain additional or detailed training and how to enroll in the EDRS at the end of this overview.

After you complete the EDRS training, and register to become a user, you will receive an email that has a link to the EDRS system, along with a username, password, and additional information regarding system requirements.

What is the Maine EDRS?
The Maine EDRS software is called DAVE™, which stands for Database Application for Vital Events. DAVE™ represents two registration systems in Maine at this time. They are: The Electronic Death Registration System and the Electronic Birth Registration System. Both are administered and maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, Data, Research, and Vital Statistics.

To access the EDRS, you will need to login to the EDRS with a username and password. Notice the "Forget your Password" prompt. This is a new feature which allows you to change your own password. You will learn more about this when you attend EDRS training.

If you are associated with more than one office, select the appropriate office from the list of offices.

Once you are logged in, the home page will display "Fast Links" to frequently used menus. The two "Fast Links" you will see immediately are "Messages" and "Current Activities."

To retrieve your messages you would click on "Messages." All messages sent to the user are displayed here. To read a message click any blue link in the "FROM" column. To open a record, click on the blue "decedent's name" link in the Message Text section. To open amendment messages, click on the blue "case number" link. Instructions of how to fully use the message feature will be covered during your detailed EDRS training.

"Current Activities" is the other fast link shown on your home page. It displays queues that contain records requiring immediate attention.

Either a clinician or funeral practitioner can start an electronic death record. Each death record is automatically assigned a case number.

Once you have logged in to the EDRS, you would select Life Events-Death-Start/Edit New Case.

You would then type in the information requested in the four required fields denoted in red. This includes the first and last name of the decedent, the date of death and their gender. Then click on the "Search" button.

If an existing case is found, you would click on the decedent's name link in blue to open the case.

If there are no records that match the criteria entered in the Start/Edit New Case page, you would select "Start New Case."

Once the record is open, EDRS automatically assigns a case number. The case number is found here. Click on the Pronouncement link to begin entering data in the required fields.

The date of death has a calendar control that will populate the date in the correct format. Selecting the F12 key populates the date of death with the current date. Then you can select from the drop down menus for the other required data. At the bottom of each page is a "Validate Page" button. Clicking on this button brings up a list of possible errors, if any. The errors can be fixed at this time and, in some cases, overridden. To save the information that you entered, you would select the "SAVE" button. To go to the next page, click on the "NEXT" button.

"Place of Death" page.
On this page, you will select from the "Type of Place of Death" drop down menu.

The facility name and address will be populated with the information for the office location that you selected when you logged in. Select the "Validate Page" button to check for errors. Click the "NEXT" button to go to the next page.

Entering the "Cause of Death" page.
Here is where you report, to the best of your knowledge, the causal chain of events that led to the death. Use the text box at the bottom of the page to describe other significant conditions and events that contributed to the death, but did not result in the underlying cause of death.

Clicking on the blue link at the top left corner of this page will bring up the The National Center for Health Statistics Recommendations for entry of cause of death and will provide you with guidance on how to complete, as accurately as possible, the cause of death information. Accurate cause of death information provides critical information to survivors and descendants, and also advances knowledge about diseases. We would like to read a quote from Dr. Barbara A. Wexelman from a New York Times article. "Death certificates are really important. We owe it to our patients to be able to accurately record why they die - and to help the living." When you have completed this page, select "Validate Page" to check for errors. Then select "Next" to go to the next page.

The "Other Factors" page contains fields for information about autopsy, pregnancy, tobacco use, infant mortality, and the medical examiner's involvement. If the "manner of death" selected from the "Other Factors" page is other than "natural," the case needs to be referred to the Medical Examiner for review. This will be discussed in greater detail when you attend a training class. When this page is completed, select the "Validate Page" button to check for errors. Then click on the "NEXT" button to go to the next page.

Only medical examiners will be brought to the "Injury Page." The injury page is enabled only if the manner of death is other than natural. Select the "Validate Page" button to check for errors and click the "NEXT" button to go to the next page. Other medical certifiers will be brought directly to the "Certifier" page, which we will cover on the next slide.

The Certifier page is used to record the name and other data related to the person legally responsible for certifying the decedent's cause of death. The certifier's name and address will automatically populate with the office information selected at login. When complete, select the "Validate Page" button to check for errors. Please note that the "Certify" page will only become available if there are no errors. This will be explained in more detail during EDRS training.

To certify the case, you would click on the "Certify" link. The clinician who certified the cause of death signs the certificate using an electronic authentication by placing a checkmark in the checkbox provided and then clicking the "Affirm" button. A message will appear showing "Authentication Successful."

Should you remember that you need to add information or make a change, you can select the "Certify" link again, and select the "Uncertify" button. However, once the death is registered, you would not be able to uncertify the case. The status bar will show you if the case is registered or not.

Electronic Amendments.
EDRS has the ability to make electronic corrections to a death record that has already been registered. Once a case is registered, corrections require an electronic supplemental certificate of death to be filed with Vital Records. To make corrections, medical certifiers would click on the "Amendment" link to begin the amendment process. After completing the desired changes on the death certificate, the medical certifier would click on the "Amendment Affirmation" link which brings up the affirmation statement shown here.

To confirm the changes, place a checkmark in the checkbox and click the "Affirm" button. Once the Affirm button is selected, an automated email is sent to Vital Records indicating the amendment is ready for approval. Our goal is to process amendments within 24 to 48 hours after automated notification that the amendment has been affirmed.

Be sure to logout when you are finished. You can log out using either the "Logout" button in the top upper-right corner or the "Logout" link from the Main menu on the Home page.

Additional Resources:
The National Center for Health Statistics has prepared the following handbooks, which contain instructions for completing death certificates. To obtain "The Physicians' Handbook on Medical Certification of Death" and "The Medical Examiners' and Coroners' Handbook on Death" click on the "COMPLETING DEATH CERTIFICATES" button.

A tutorial on writing cause of death statements is also available from the National Association of Medical Examiners. To view this tutorial click on the "CAUSE OF DEATH STATEMENTS" button.

To request EDRS training, click on the "EDRS TRAINING REQUEST" button. The training request form provides additional information regarding training options, along with an enrollment form and confidentiality statement. To request "In-Person" training, please call our Application Support Specialist listed on the next page.

Should you have any questions regarding the EDRS, please contact our EDRS Application Support Specialist at 1-888-664-9491 and select Option 7.

Thank you for your interest in Maine's Electronic Death Registration System.