than six months of full time attention and programming, the information
technology team for the Office of Vital Records (OVR) upgraded MR&C and
released a new version into production early on January 5. The upgrade focused
on JavaServer Faces (JSF), a high-level computer framework for building
component-based user interfaces for web applications.
upgrade was necessary so that future programmatic enhancements could be
accomplished with greater efficiency and confidence. Staff from Minnesota IT Services (MN.IT)
who support MR&C explained the upgrade in plain language: “It’s like
MR&C was programmed with Windows 97 and we didn’t make any mini-upgrades as
new versions were available; instead, we jumped to Office 2013.” If we didn’t
do the upgrade now, the possibility and potential to enhance MR&C with new
functionality in the future would have been limited.
MR&C upgrade, IT staff examined all aspects of the application, assessed, then
wrote programming to apply changes. The comprehensive effort included all of
MR&C’s separate modules for birth (including fetal death), death,
administration, customer service, and the Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry.
The programming was extensive and the testing intensive. Overall, the efforts
were deemed a large success; however, it didn’t take long before the OVR phone
lines began ringing and the email inbox began filling up.
and users of MR&C were extremely helpful in reporting details about the
issues they were experiencing,” commented Molly Crawford, the State Registrar.
“They provided details, state file numbers, and computer screen images so that
our IT staff could quickly understand and fix issues.” MR&C production went
down briefly the afternoon of January 6 to put repairs into place which
significantly improved operations and users’ experiences. Another mini-release
is planned for Thursday, January 12. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we
work through the last few details. You’ve been very helpful partners and allies
as we improve our statewide system. By the end of the week, activities with
MR&C are expected to be efficient,” said Crawford.
With the JSF
upgrade, MR&C’s new look was instantly noticeable on the log in page. Visible changes included color and more
keyboard friendly functions, improved accessibility and navigation especially
with the ‘search’ and ‘selection’ features. Users can tab easily or choose to
use their mouse. Some of the data fields work differently, but the field layout
in MR&C didn’t change.
MR&C users who experience problems, need
help, or have challenges with the system in accomplishing their usual work,
should inform OVR. Please contact the OVR Helpdesk at: 651-201-5993 or 888-692-2733 or health.MRCAdmin@state.mn.us. Representatives are available Monday
through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for state holidays. If you
leave a message after hours, representatives will contact you the next business
Credit for Parents of Stillborn Children; Reporting Fetal Deaths with Confidence Webinar Training
who experienced a fetal death in 2016 or later may
be eligible for a new tax credit when they file income
taxes with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Credit
for Parents of Stillborn Children.
Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth is required to claim the credit, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) created a
brief training to explain fetal death reporting,
the process for getting a certificate, and suggestions
to help families.
Health professionals involved in birth registration such as hospital
registrars and others who work in vital records are invited
to participate. The 30-minute interactive webinar, Reporting Fetal Deaths with Confidence,
will be offered live on January 24 at 2:00 p.m.
or January 30 at 9:00 a.m.. Register for the webinar by email to health.MRCAdmin@state.mn.us
and type Reporting Fetal Deaths in
the subject line. OVR will email you a passcode
and link to the webinar.
than 400 fetal deaths are reported each year
compared to the nearly 70,000 births
per year in
Minnesota. Because birth registrars and
funeral home staff report fetal deaths infrequently, OVR
will post the Reporting
Fetal Deaths with Confidence webinar after
it is broadcast for future reference.
2016 accomplishments many: efforts to cut paper successful
The business of vital records
saw much change in last year. We did more—sometimes with fewer people, more
people, different people, and new people. We set goals and worked
SMARTer—SPECIFIC, MEASUREABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVENT, TIME BOUND. We made
MR&C bigger and better. We traveled back in time (OVR staff have entered
birth records into MR&C now all the way back to 1933), and, we looked to
Looking back at the 2016, some of the great things we accomplished together include:
Registering a lot of vital events (based on preliminary data as of 1/9/2017)
- 68,311 births
- 42,533 deaths
Receiving recognition for our hard work
- Governor’s Continuous Improvement Award for improving the availability of preliminary death data for public health purposes and timeliness for complete death certificates.
- The Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Health Statistics recognized Minnesota for outstanding performance on our Vital Statistics Cooperative Program—our contract to collect vital records data and share de-identified data for public health purposes.
- Minnesota IT Services nomination for exemplary programs and technical relationships—OVR program and our dedicated IT team for MR&C.
Adding new people to help
- Formed a new OVR Help Desk and hired new staff
to centralize stakeholder support and provide more responsive, complete, and
uniform customer service delivery.
- Created new MR&C User accounts for 1,533
physicians (almost five times as many (346) as in 2015)
Adding new data to help people
- On birth and death records we added an optional
data field to collect last names before first marriage for all parents.
- On death records we added an optional data field
to collect the surviving spouse’s current last name so that it prints on a
- On death records we started collecting data from
medical examiners on the number of religious objections to autopsies (45 death records marked this as 'YES') and from
funeral staff, the number of decedents that are embalmed regardless of the type
Educating users and providing annual training for
- Birth 101 Classes—52 hospital birth registrars
- The 5R’s of Death Registration—73 morticians received 3 hours of continuing education credit and many of their staff attended to increase their professional development.
- Safe and Secure local issuance officer training—95 county professionals
- Exhibits at 12 events—building awareness of the important work of vital records with thousands of participants.
- Cause of Death MR&C User Training—457 physicians and designated staff
We added a
new holographic foil stamp in the State seal on the
Minnesota certificate. Now we have 12 built-in security and fraud
prevention features which makes our certificate
among the most secure in the U.S. (October).
Assuring accuracy of our data:
- Deleting duplicate records, 42 death, 3 birth
- Amending cause of death information for 1,732
- Entering 29,419 “historic” births previously filed on paper into
the MR&C database
Replacing 7,960 original birth records: 4,048 for paternity with
the Recognition of Parentage, 1, 473 for adoption, 263 for various court-ordered
reasons, 2,176 for adjudications.
Reducing processing and fulfillment time:
- Amendments to birth records—down from five weeks to less than three.
- Replacement records for adoptions—down from more than five weeks to just over two.
- Replacement records for court-ordered adjudications (adding second parents to birth records)—down from 11 days to two or three.
Promoting and supporting change in policy for
electronic authorization for final disposition and maximizing use of MR&C
for death registration.
- Ramsey County Medical Examiner required all requests for cremation approval which includes cause of death, to be submitted through MR&C (February)
- Hennepin County Medical Examiner required all requests for cremation approval which includes cause of death, to be submitted through MR&C (October)
- Allina Clinics requiring physicians to use MR&C for death registration and implementing processes for coverage and backup such as designating staff to enter cause of death information on behalf of physicians. Partnering with OVR to train health professionals at more than 70 clinics.
Increasing use of the MR&C system for
registering the cause of death—from 78% of death records to more than 93%.
Top baby names in 2016
Boy's names on left and girl's names on right