Welcome to VitalScan © Patient Mortality Statistics Scanner


The determination of vital status in retrospective and prospective studies is often difficult and expensive. The National Death Index (NDI) was designed to facilitate vital status follow-up in medical and health research by providing accessible, centralized information on deaths occurring in the United States. The ability of the NDI to match decedents has been evaluated by numerous studies.

Long-term patient mortality data can be obtained from the United States Social Security Death Index database. The sensitivity of the National Death Index to identify deaths is between 92% and 99% depending on which identifiers are available. Social Security number alone has the best accuracy of any combination of other identifiers (first initial, last name, day of birth, month of birth, year of birth, and so forth) with a sensitivity of 97% and a specificity of 99% (see Williams, 1992). Other studies (Curb, 1985; Acquavella, 1986) have suggested that the National Death Index may be less accurate for women and racial minorities than for other groups. Still others have had to limit their follow-up studies to residents of their home State where they could obtain large batches of vital statistics (see Hannan, 2005).