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External death data that augments Stanford internal data.

Death data

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Social Security Administration Death Data

STARR includes SSA death data. Research IT receives updated LADMF data on a monthly basis. The new source corrects the existing data and adds new death information. The raw data is prepared for downstream integration.

This death data source is regulated and imposes some additional restrictions on how the data is used downstream. The SSA death data is now part of NTIS Limited Access Death Master File (LADMF) file maintained and is made available to certified organizations through the U.S. Department of Commerce. Stanford University has signed a subscriber and associated licensing agreements.  LADMF regulations place certain restrictions on the use and disclosure of the date of death (including individual data elements, such as month, day and year of death) of individuals during the three-calendar-year period beginning on the date of the individual’s death. Fact of death is not regulated. If there is independent death information from hospital source, confirming the date of death, the individual's data is not regulated under LADMF. The LADMF regulations are independent of HIPAA regulations and persist even in fully de-identified data. The LADMF regulated data can't go to a collaborator who does not have an independent LADMF subscription.

A research study, titled "Alive or dead: Validity of the Social Security Administration Death Master File after 2011 (link)" concluded that researchers using the DMF may underestimate mortality. NTIS further states: "DMF does have inaccuracies and SSA DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ACCURACY OF THE DMF FILE. SSA does not have a death record for all deceased persons. Therefore, the absence of a particular person on this file is not proof that the individual is alive. Further, in rare instances, it is possible for the records of a person who is not deceased to be included erroneously in the DMF. If an individual seeing your copy of the DMF has a complaint that they find erroneous data/death information on that DMF, individual is advised to contact their local social security office (with proof) to have the error corrected."

If you have any further questions on the LADMF source, please request a consultation service


STARR Tools (fka STRIDE) has historically provided Social Security Administrations death data information to augment the in-hospital death information available via EHRs. STARR Tools, after a gap of several years where the data was unavailable, has now integrated the LADMF file and meets the required regulations. Note that researchers too must follow the associated regulations, inappropriate use are subject to penalties under federal regulations (15 CFR 1110.200).