July Birth Data News

                                                                                                                 July 2014

Birth Data News

Grant project for eVital Records a national success

Minnesota’s ground-breaking collaborative project to electronically exchange birth record information from an electronic health record (EHR) to the birth record in MR&C is complete.  

During the two-year project, a diverse team of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MDH and hospital staff members examined existing birth registration processes and systems and documented discrepancies, redundancies and opportunities for improvement through the electronic transfer of data. The pinnacle of the project allowed for testing, and demonstrated secure electronic data exchange using HL7 standards, showing what is possible for birth registration.

These demonstrations occurred at several conferences for hospital administrators, Information Technology staff, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), international officials and other states and jurisdictions.

The response to the project was overwhelmingly positive.

However, what is possible is different from what we can currently accomplish in our day-to-day registration. The Office of Vital Records (OVR) and Minnesota hospitals are still early in the journey to complete electronic interoperability. Even with agreement from hospitals and public health agencies, more work is necessary to ready Minnesota’s birth registration for eVitals adaptation and implementation.

Every change or improvement requires an initial investment before it can be implemented. This project was one of those early activities and it generated awareness and interest among important stakeholders. But hospitals, clinics and state agencies are already scrambling to keep up with many national and local mandates that take priority over eVital records implementation.

OVR will continue to ready the path. In fact, the final analysis led the project team to recommend future legislative mandates or financial incentives to help electronic records vendors, hospitals and state agencies move closer to interoperability and standard processes that incorporate eVital best practices. Certainly there is more to come.

If you’d like to learn more about what we learned and our recommendations for eVitals, contact sally.almond@state.mn.us for a copy of the final report.

New Contract with the Social Security Administration

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Office of Vital Records (OVR), along with 56 other jurisdictions, recently signed a new, five-year contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to continue with the Enumeration at Birth (EAB) program.

The EAB is a voluntary program in which parents agree to allow OVR to share demographic information from a birth record with the SSA for an automatic Social Security Number for their newborn child. More than 96 percent of parents choose to participate in the EAB program. 

OVR sends a data file each week to SSA. Files with problems such as “Baby Girl" or "Baby Boy” as names, extra spaces, or a space before and after a hyphen will not qualify for EAB even when a parent chooses EAB. For tips and information that will help you talk to parents about EAB, please visit the Social Security website.

The site contains interesting information about Social Security, including information for adoptive parents; name changes; and replacing lost or stolen cards.


The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) collects information on vital events from 57 jurisdictions including Minnesota. NCHS sets deadlines to report final data on births and fetal deaths. Minnesota was able to meet the deadline of March 31, 2014, to finalize 2013 birth data and May 31, 2014, to finalize 2013 fetal death data.

Because of your efforts to register births accurately and efficiently, Minnesota was once again recognized as a leader. OVR received an excellent vital statistics “report card." Thank you!

"Weaving the Threads of Rural Health" was the theme of the 2014 Minnesota Rural Health Conference, June 23-24 in Duluth. OVR reached out to hospital administrators and leaders statewide as an exhibitor at the conference. OVR highlighted registration of vital events (births, fetal deaths, deaths), physician recruitment to use the MR&C System, and the connection of vital events data to public health. For more information, visit the conference's website:

A recent MR&C upgrade improved system security by limiting birth record summaries to exact matches. Users who enter search criteria that exactly match one birth record will see the birth record summary screen automatically.

If the search results in more than one match, a list of potential records will display. Users can select a record from the list and click on the subject name to see the summary.