The Importance of Data to the MDI Community and Stakeholders

The Importance of Data to the MDI Community and Stakeholders

← Back to MDI Webinar Series

This webinar originally occurred on November 2nd, 2021
Duration: 1 hour

Many stakeholders rely on medicolegal death investigation (MDI) data to support efforts that help save lives and promote justice. These stakeholders include federal, state, and local government agencies as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. The data supports efforts to detect emerging health threats, monitor the health and safety of the public, ensure equal justice across jurisdictions, and conduct sound forensic science. For federal, state, and local agencies, MDI data also supports program development as well as policy and rule-making decisions. Federal agencies that utilize the data are the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and many others.

The method to capture and store information collected during an investigation varies from sophisticated electronic case management systems (CMS) to paper file-based systems. Surveys suggest that most larger jurisdictions as well as many mid-sized and smaller offices have some form of a CMS. There are likely many commonalities in the information stored in the CMS, such as what is recorded on the death certificates (e.g., decedent identity, cause of death, date and time of death). However, the data may be structured and coded in different ways. This complicates comparing or aggregating information across jurisdictions. In some offices, typically in smaller jurisdictions, information is collected and stored in paper files. Others do not systematically store the information and rely solely on the death certificate as the record of death. Recent efforts to help support medical examiners and coroners to more efficiently and uniformly collect and report information include working to establish what data to collect, how to exchange the data, and ways to aggregate and visualize the data.

Detailed Learning Objectives:
Attendees will be able to:
1.) Understand the type of data that is collected by the MDI community in a death investigation.
2.) Identify how MDI data is used and its importance to public health and forensic science.
3.) Describe recent efforts to support the MDI community in capturing and storing data more efficiently and uniformly.

Margaret Warner, Ph.D. | Senior Epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics

View Archived Webinar Here

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Contact us at with any questions and subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

Related Content

drugs & woman

Reports of Adverse Events Associated with Use of Novel Psychoactive Substances, 2017–2020: A Review

Publication Journal of Analytical Toxicology, April 2022 Authors Amanda L A Mohr | Center for Forensic Science Research and Education Barry K Logan | Center for Forensic Science Research and EducationMelissa F Fogarty | Center for Forensic Science Research and…

A Landscape Study of Electronic Case Management Systems for Medical Examiners and Coroners

Date February 2022 Overview Medical examiner and coroner (ME/C) offices sit at the nexus of forensic sciences and public health. These offices play a key role in the investigation of suspicious, unexplained, or unexpected deaths, dissemination of important data to…

Medical Examiner and Coroner Outsourcing Study – A Qualitative Study and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Date January 2022 Overview Medical examiners and coroners (MECs) are often at the center of highly stressful and emotional situations as a part of their daily job duties. Those events are compounded by continued and escalating high caseloads and inadequate…