National Coronial Information System: Epidemiology and the Coroner in Australia
Eva Saar, Lyndal Bugeja, David L. Ranson
ABSTRACT: The National Coronial Information System (NCIS) is the world’s first national Internet-based database of coronial information. It was established in Australia following the recognition by coroners that their mandate for public health and safety could be improved if they could identify previous similar deaths. The NCIS is funded from state, territory, and commonwealth government agencies and overseen by the NCIS Board of Management. A team of ten staff manage the day-to-day operation of the system.
The NCIS enables the rapid identification of up-to-date information on deaths investigated by the coroners’ jurisdictions in Australia (from July 2000) and New Zealand (from July 2007). It is accessible to death investigators (coroners; forensic, medical, and scientific staff; and police) to assist with death investigation and approved third parties (e.g., researchers). The NCIS contains demographic information about the deceased, contextual information about the circumstances in which the death occurred, the cause and manner of death, and four full text reports generated during the investigation.
The NCIS contains information on over 328 000 completed coroners’ death investigations across Australia and New Zealand. Approximately 350 death investigators are registered to access the data for their ongoing death investigations, and 235 third party users are registered to utilize the data set in their research. In addition to the utility of the NCIS, this paper describes the rationale and governance structure of the NCIS, the information technology infrastructure, data set, quality assurance framework, and contribution to death and injury prevention.