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How to Get a Death Certificate Integration in Your State

How to build a state death certificate integration

Written by Josh McQueen, VP of Marketing and Product at Passare

Every funeral director knows the struggle of duplicate data entry. And the most meticulous process is carefully entering vital information to produce a death record to ensure there are no errors.

This process led to Passare creating the first and only death certificate integration in the nation. Nearly 3 years ago, our software integrated with the Pennsylvania EDRS to help funeral homes save time and mistakes on data entry when processing individual death certificates.

Many have asked, “Can Passare connect with our state’s death certificate system?”

While we would love nothing more than to provide this functionality for you, our answer to the question is almost always, “Not yet.”

But there is hope.

After meeting with vital records departments in over 20 states, we’ve learned a thing or two over the years.

In this article, I’ll explain how each state death certificate integration is built, what challenges stand in the way of it being made, and how you can take action to get it in your state.

How state death certificate integrations are built

The first step in setting up any integration between two software companies is to make sure one platform creates the API to communicate with the other platform.

API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it gives two software platforms the ability to safely share information without exposing their entire databases to one another.

So, when building a state death certificate integration, your case management platform would use an API to communicate with your vital records platform.

Sounds fairly easy, right? Despite the simple description, there are a few obstacles to overcome first to build a state death certificate integration. Let me explain!

Challenges of a death certificate integration

The first challenge in building any integration is deciding which company will do the development it takes to build an integration to the other platform’s API. Passare gets many integration requests from various companies, so our policy to that all partners develop to our public API.

Though we could easily spend years of our development roadmap focusing solely on integrations, we don’t feel that’s fair to the entirety of our customer base because not everyone uses the same partners and integrations.

But one of the only exceptions we make to this policy is death certificate integrations. Why?

#1: It’s difficult for the vital records department to build integrations with individual case management platforms, not to mention the medical and coroner platforms.

#2: Vital records offices outsource their development and typically have a very small staff.

#3: Repeatedly building the same type of integration would be a waste of taxpayer dollars.

For these reasons, it makes sense for the case management platform to build an integration to the vital records department's APIs.

And this is where the real challenge comes in.

Vital records departments nationwide do not have any APIs for case management platforms, such as Passare, to integrate with. And after meeting with over two dozen states, I’ve learned that I’ve learned that these departments have small development budgets, not to mention priorities for those budgets they feel are more pressing.

But like I mentioned in the beginning, there is hope for an integration to be made in your state.

What you can do

It’s hard to say that anything good came out of the COVID pandemic, but one thing that did occur was the CDC realizing they were receiving data way too slowly from each state’s health department. For this reason, every state received federal funding to build out its integration with the CDC to improve “interoperability” or data transfer between the state and federal government.

This matters because we have learned that with a bit of extra development, this same budget can be used to allow the vital records department to receive data from case management platforms.

It simply has to become a priority for the vital records department.

Here is where we need your help.

A simple request from a case management company isn’t enough to prioritize this integration for the vital records department. It requires the force of an industry behind it.

In Pennsylvania, this occurred when the state association decided to get behind the effort. This wasn’t a one-time call or meeting on their part but a regular, consistent effort to ensure the functionality was developed for all the funeral homes in their state. Read PA’s story here.

If you want to see this functionality in your state, I strongly advise that you get this to become a lobbying priority of your state’s association.

  • Attend your state association’s convention

  • Call or email your association representatives

  • Get other funeral professionals to help you make your case

I’ll end with this:

I can assure you that once your state has APIs to integrate with, Passare will make it a priority to develop to them.

Here’s to making our profession better.


Want to learn more about Passare? See the full scope of the software by requesting a demo.