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Deaths data and information about causes of death are compiled by the ABS. Newer information becomes available to the AIHW after the ABS releases their summaries of causes of death for each year.
The AIHW applies to access these data via the ACR.
Another factor related to the timeliness of deaths data is the processing cycle and revisions to the causes of death. Data are processed according to a reference year; all deaths that are received by the ABS for a reference year and within a specified time period are captured and counted for that reference year. Once the deaths for the reference year are compiled to represent a year of registration, the deaths are coded with an underlying cause of death and associated causes of death where applicable.
The first release of the coded causes of death is referred to as the ‘preliminary’ version. In this version, deaths that were reported to the coroner but remain as an open case usually have a non-specific cause (unknown) cause of death.
Following the release of the preliminary cause of death data, the cause of death for coroner-certified deaths are revised to ascertain a more specific cause of death for any subsequently closed coroner cases. This revision results in a ‘revised’ version of the cause of death data.
The same process occurs again to produce a ‘final’ version of cause of death data.
Aspects of these processes that can influence the accuracy and timeliness of data are that:
Figure 1: Scope & release timeline of Cause of Death Unit Record Files (CODURF) for deaths registered in 2016
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