Just in the past month, I have been required to perform a death pronouncement and complete a death certificate. It is not a task many of us perform very often, and I was frankly uncomfortable with the process. It isn’t so much that the task is morbid or unpleasant, though for some it likely is or can be depending on the cause of death. Rather, I was concerned if I was properly completing the death certificate paperwork required so the body could be released to the funeral home, etc. What I didn’t consider was the importance of this task on the national statistics prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They work with local jurisdictions and states to compile statistics used for mortality rates and life expectancies. The literal sequence of the medical conditions on the paperwork is critically important and must be completed correctly. I did find some useful information on the CDC website but wished I had an app to help guide me through the process.

Too late for me this time, but perhaps not for you — the CDC has just released an outstanding new app designed exactly for this task called Cause of Death Quick Reference Guide. The app contains numerous short and easy-to-read sections on the steps of death pronouncement and completion of the death certificate. The app has numerous examples for a variety of potential death scenarios and online resources for those who want to learn more about the process. We continue to be fans of the CDC’s apps. They have released the outstanding and recently released CDC Anticoag Manager, the related CDC PTT Advisor, an easy-to-use Vaccine Schedule app, an excellent STD app, Influenza app, GBS app and Mobile Health app. We have also favorably reviewed their opioid and travel medicine apps.

Evidence-based medicine

Developed by the CDC and their Mortality Statistics Branch which is part of the Division of Vital Statistics, the CDC Death Certificate app provides much-needed education in the important topic area of death pronouncement and death certificate completion. The apps step-by-step guide, numerous “real-world” examples, and outstanding handbooks produced by the CDC available via app hyperlinks make this an indispensable guide to providers who are asked to perform this critical task.

Who would benefit from this app?

Medical students, primary care physicians, hospital medicine physicians, pathologists, or any provider who may be asked to perform a death pronouncement and/or complete a death certificate.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

  • Price
    • Free
    • Simple-to-use interface that covers both death pronouncement and death certificate completion.
    • Numerous examples covering infancy, trauma, common medical conditions, and elderly patients
    • Outstanding references/online guides for further reading
  • Dislikes
    • Lacks “back” button in some key sections; unable to return to welcome screen
    • Most references/additional material online and not downloaded to the device
    • Not available for Android
  • Overall

    Cause of Death Quick Reference Guide app is a perfect companion app for providers who perform hospital medicine or may be called to pronounce death and/or complete a death certificate. The app clearly explains each step of the process and gives ample examples of how to do this properly and avoid common pitfalls. The app also stresses the importance of why providers must get this document correctly completed for improved health statistics.

  • Overall Score
  • User Interface

    Easy to use interface, but could use a few more “back” buttons.

  • Multimedia Usage

    App contains numerous embedded examples on how to complete a death certificate and links to online PDF booklets produced by the CDC for further reading.

  • Price

    App is free

  • Real World Applicability

    CDC Death Certificate app is the perfect guide for providers who only occasionally have to pronounce a death and/or complete a death certificate. The app contains a helpful step-by-step guide, numerous examples, and abundant resources to references to make anyone an expert on this important topic.

  • Device Used For Review

    iPhone 8 running iOS 11.3.1

  • Available for DownloadiPhoneiPad