What is verbal autopsy?
If someone dies without any medical attention, there is often a problem of determining what the cause of death was. Verbal autopsy is a process which has been in use for many years, particularly in poorer societies where many deaths pass undiagnosed, in which an interviewer visits family or friends of the deceased person after the death, and gathers information about what happened.
Have the InterVA models been validated?
To a reasonable degree, yes! You can find details of various evaluations under more info. But it is important to recognise that there is no absolute gold standard cause-of-death data that can be used to validate verbal autopsies. What is important for any cause of death process is to address the question "is it good enough?".
What is the difference between physician-coded and computer-coded VA?
Once the basic VA interview has been done, next steps can either involve physicians looking at the interview data case-by-case, and assigning causes of death, or the whole dataset can be fed into a model like InterVA-4 to automatically assign causes of death. Physician coding is slow and expensive, and there are worries about consistency between physicians and over time. Models like InterVA-4 are fast, cheap and completely consistent. But note that neither physicians nor models will be 100% correct for all cases!
Is InterVA-4 completely compatible with WHO and ICD-10 standards?
Yes, after WHO released the WHO 2012 VA standard, InterVA-4 was developed (starting from the previous InterVA-3 and InterVA-M models) to be completely consistent with the new standard. This is true both for the inputs (basically the questions from the VA interview) and the outputs (ICD-10 codes grouped by WHO into VA cause categories that cover the whole of ICD-10).