Identifying types and causes of errors in mortality data in a clinical registry using multiple information systems

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2012:180:771-5.


Errors may occur in the registration of in-hospital mortality, making it less reliable as a quality indicator. We assessed the types of errors made in in-hospital mortality registration in the clinical quality registry National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE) by comparing its mortality data to data from a national insurance claims database. Subsequently, we performed site visits at eleven Intensive Care Units (ICUs) to investigate the number, types and causes of errors made in in-hospital mortality registration. A total of 255 errors were found in the NICE registry. Two different types of software malfunction accounted for almost 80% of the errors. The remaining 20% were five types of manual transcription errors and human failures to record outcome data. Clinical registries should be aware of the possible existence of errors in recorded outcome data and understand their causes. In order to prevent errors, we recommend to thoroughly verify the software that is used in the registration process.

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Records, Personal*
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Netherlands
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data*