The California Automated Mortality Linkage System (CAMLIS)

Am J Public Health. 1984 Dec;74(12):1324-30. doi: 10.2105/ajph.74.12.1324.


The California Automated Mortality Linkage System (CAMLIS), established in 1981 to facilitate the conduct of follow-up studies in the State of California, employs a combination of deterministic and probabilistic linkage decision criteria to perform the death clearance function. The system was evaluated against four traditional death clearance procedures and the performance of each procedure measured in terms of measures of sensitivity and specificity. Only one procedure was associated with a specificity lower than 0.99; for that one, the specificity was 0.93. There was much greater fluctuation in the observed sensitivity levels. In one of the procedures, CAMLIS demonstrated a sensitivity of 0.97 versus 0.79 for the Social Security Administration. A comparison against the National Death Index (NDI) produced sensitivities of 0.89 for CAMLIS and 0.94 for the NDI. An assessment of manual search procedures using a file of Japanese names produced a CAMLIS sensitivity measure of 0.92 compared with 0.93 for the manual search. Another manual search procedure using microfiche copies of the state death index produced a CAMLIS sensitivity of 0.97; in this evaluation, the sensitivity of the manual search was defined as 1.0. Another measure of performance of a death clearance procedure is its predictive value in identifying a person who has died; CAMLIS generated predictive values in these evaluations that ranged from 0.93 through 0.99, contrasted with the NDI value of 0.59.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Death Certificates
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Humans
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Medical Records*
  • Mortality*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care