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New Facial Recognition Technology Will Register NYC Births & Deaths

The NYC Health Department has launched eVital, a new system for reporting births and deaths in New York City. eVital, used primarily by hospitals and funeral directors, will replace the decade-old Electronic Vital Events Registration System (EVERS). Last year, 12,000 people used this system to register 122,000 births, 53,000 deaths, and issue one million official certificates. The new eVital system features upgraded security measures, including facial recognition technology; a status portal for people to check on their certificate orders; and a streamlined login process that will include one login instead of two. Under eVital, the current service that allows New Yorkers to have live chats with Health Department staff will be made permanent. The upgrade was prompted by feedback from system users; more information can be found here.

eVital expands funtionality and improves security for doctors and funeral homes, while giving New Yorkers additional access to birth and death records they need to obtain passports, enroll in school or obtain a lease or mortgage,“  said Acting Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. The Health Department is constantly improving the services that we provide for New Yorkers, and properly capturing and reporting on the facts of birth and death are fundamental to improving health.

 

“There’s a high risk in government of sticking with old systems just out of sheer bureaucratic inertia, even when they need to be replaced and much better tools are available,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m pleased that the Health Department is defying that tendency, replacing this decade-old system, and adding new functions that will make it easier for New Yorkers to securely access vital information.”

 

“I appreciate the time that DOHMH took to meet with me and the Jewish and Muslim religious burial community to work through some of the questions that leaders had regarding the new eVital system. Leaders raised concerns about eVital’s ability to accommodate religious burials, which are unique because they are required to be completed extremely quickly,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Chairman of the NYC Council’s Jewish Caucus. “Launching a new program can be fraught with complications, but because the communication was there, the transition to eVital went smoothly. I’m grateful to Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Health Committee Chairman Mark Levine, and the Jewish and Muslim leaders who joined our discussions for their input and advocacy. I look forward to a continued partnership with DOHMH on this and other issues that effect New Yorkers.”

“The new eVital system will take the Department of Health to new heights in servicing New Yorkers,” said Rabbi Jack Meyer, President of Misaskim. “The Department of Health addressed the concerns of Muslim and Jewish communities, as well as the entire funeral home industry. The roll out was flawless and I congratulate the Health Department for it.”

“New York City’s hospitals welcome eVital and its improved security and functionality,” said Greater New York Hospital Association Vice President Zeynep Sumer King. “The City Health Department has spent much of the last year coordinating eVital’s launch with hospitals and other stakeholders, and we expect those efforts to lead to a smoother, more coordinated transition. The Health Department has conducted extensive one-on-one outreach to doctors, health care facilities, and health care systems to ensure that doctors are aware and have been trained on the new system. More than 9,600 certifiers are enrolled in the system and all have received instruction on how to input births and deaths.”

New York City has had an electronic system in place for about a decade, with all births and 95 percent of deaths reported electronically. The United States has 57 vital records jurisdictions, and some are still registering deaths on paper. The new features for eVital include:

For the public:

·         Twice the number of kiosks at the Health Department’s walk-in center at 125 Worth Street. These kiosks guide New Yorkers through the birth and death certificate request process. Once ordered, the certificates can be picked up at one of the walk-in center’s windows.

·         Permanent chat feature on the Health Department’s vital records webpage. New Yorkers will be able to ask basic questions of Health Department staff and receive responses in real time, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They will still have to order birth and death certificates through a separate site.

 

For funeral directors and doctors:

·         Facial recognition technology to certify birth and death reports. Until now, funeral directors, doctors, and Health Department staff used a fingerprint device which attaches to a computer when they reported vital records. With facial recognition, nearly everyone can use a smart phone to complete the process more quickly and securely.

·         Scanning technology so hospital staff can submit paternity documents to the Health Department with a scan instead of a fax.

·         Fewer in-person trips to the Health Department for funeral directors, who can now submit applications for transit and disinterment electronically.

·         Streamlined login process; now users will be required to login once instead of twice.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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