The National Institute of Justice (NIJ)—in partnership with its Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCOE) at RTI International and the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—convened a virtual Medicolegal Death Investigation Data Exchange Working Group (MDI-Data-WG) beginning in September 2020. This working group was formed to:
- Document the types of data that are commonly exchanged with public health and public safety partners and determine collective usage points for medicolegal death investigations (MDIs);
- Provide recommendations on how to improve the naming process for emerging drugs;
- Guide the drug mapping/classification process; and
- Recommend needed enhancements to the operation of exchanging forensic data with other organizations.
The goal of this whitepaper is to support policies and procedures within an organization, agency training on the importance electronic medical records in medicolegal death investigation, and also to disseminate community awareness and collaboration efforts to improve how MDI data are exchanged and modernized. The audience includes practitioners, forensic laboratory and medical examiner/coroner leadership, and any interested entity that contributes to data exchange for death investigations.
Medicolegal death investigation offices respond to unnatural, unexpected, and suspicious deaths that require timely, 24/7 access to comprehensive and accurate medical records. Medical history guides decisions on case jurisdiction, disposition, identification, and cause and manner of death determination. This information ultimately helps survivors, families, and communities, and guides health, safety, and justice efforts.
- Working Group on Data Exchange in Medicolegal Death Investigation
- Comprehensive Needs Assessment for Forensic Laboratories and Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices
- Strengthening the Medicolegal-Death-Investigation System: Improving Data Systems
- HIPAA and Access to Medical Information by Medical Examiner and Coroner Offices
- Dissecting and Streamlining the Medical Record Acquisition Process in Death Investigation Systems
Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence report was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU). This work was also supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Contract Number HHSM500201200008I, Task Order Number 200-2016-F-91567).
The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.