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N C Med J. 2012 Jul-Aug;73(4):257-62.

Evaluation of the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System, 2009.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



Violence is a leading cause of death in North Carolina. The North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System (NC-VDRS) is part of the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), which monitors violent deaths and collects information about injuries and psychosocial contributors. Our objective was to describe and evaluate the quality, timeliness, and usefulness of the system.


We used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for evaluating public health surveillance systems to assess the system. We performed subjective assessment of system attributes by reviewing system documents and interviewing stakeholders. We estimated NC-VDRS's reporting completeness using a capture-recapture method.


Stakeholders considered data provided by NC-VDRS to be of high quality. Reporting to the national system has taken place before the specified 6-month and 18-month deadlines, but local stakeholder reports have been delayed up to 36 months. Stakeholders reported using NC-VDRS data for program planning and community education. The system is estimated to capture all NVDRS-defined cases, but law enforcement officers report only 61% of suicides.


The law enforcement agencies we interviewed may not be representative of all participating agencies in the state. Data sources used to assess completeness were not independent.


NC-VDRS is useful and well-accepted. However, completeness of suicide reporting is limited, and reporting to local stakeholders has been delayed. Improving these limitations might improve the usefulness of the system for planning and appropriately targeting violence prevention interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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