The death notification forms (DNFs) are important documents. Thus, inability to fill it properly by physicians will affect the national mortality report and, consequently, the evidence-based decision making. The errors in filling DNFs are common all over the world and are different in types and causes. We aimed to evaluate the quality of DNFs in terms of completeness and types of errors in the cause of death section.
A descriptive study was conducted to review 2707 DNFs in North West Bank/Palestine during the year 2012 using data abstraction sheets. SPSS 17.0 was used to show the frequency of major and minor errors committed in filling the DNFs.
Surprisingly, only 1% of the examined DNFs had their cause of death section filled completely correct. The immediate cause of death was correctly identified in 5.9% of all DNFs and the underlying cause of death was correctly reported in 55.4% of them. The sequence was incorrect in 41.5% of the DNFs. The most frequently documented minor error was "Not writing Time intervals" error (97.0%).
Almost all DNFs contained at least one minor or major error. This high percentage of errors may affect the mortality and morbidity statistics, public health research and the process of providing evidence for health policy. Training workshops on DNF completion for newly recruited employees and at the beginning of the residency program are recommended on a regular basis. As well, we recommend reviewing the national DNFs to simplify it and make it consistent with updated evidence-based guidelines and recommendation.