J. Powers et al., Effectiveness of the National Death Index for establishing the vital status of older women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, AUS NZ J PU, 24(5), 2000, pp. 526-528
Public Health & Health Care Science
AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of the National Death Index (NDI) in
identifying participants in the oldest cohort of the Australian Longitudin
al Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) who had died between 1996 and 1998.
Methods: identifying information for each woman was matched with the NDI us
ing a probabilistic algorithm and clerical review. Differences in full name
, date of birth, State of residence and date of last contact were used to a
ssess the probability of a true match.
Results: NDI identified 410 matches of death records for 409 women; 386 wer
e categorised as true matches and 23 were doubtful matches. Responses to th
e follow-up survey confirmed that for six of the doubtful matches the women
had died, 16 were alive and the vital status of one woman remained unconfi
rmed at 30 June 1998. Twelve deaths, known to have occurred before July 199
8, were not identified through NDI. The sensitivity of the NDI for identify
ing known deaths was 95%. Detailed identifying information, particularly th
e middle name, was important for accurate identification of the vital statu
Conclusions: Using surname, all given names, gender, date of birth, State o
f residence and age at last contact as matching variables, the NDI was an e
ffective tool for identifying women who had died.
Implications: Routinely collected mortality data in the NDI are useful for
the practice of epidemiology.