WHO’s new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) comes into effect

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WHO ICD 11
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WHO’s new International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) comes into effect

The World Health Organization (WHO) Eleventh Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) has now come into effect, with the latest update going online today.

The ICD provides a common language that allows health professionals to share standardized information across the world. It is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, containing around 17 000 unique codes for injuries, diseases, and causes of death, underpinned by more than 120 000 codable terms. By using code combinations, more than 1.6 million clinical situations can now be coded.

Compared with previous versions, ICD-11 is entirely digital with a new user-friendly format and multilingual capabilities that reduce the chance of error. It has been compiled and updated with input from over 90 countries and unprecedented involvement of health-care providers, enabling evolution from a system imposed on clinicians into a truly enabling clinical classification and terminology database that serves a broad range of uses for recording and reporting statistics on health.

“International classification of diseases is the cornerstone of a robust health information system”, said Dr Samira Asma, the Assistant Director-General for Data, Analytics and Delivery for Impact at the World Health Organization (WHO). “ICD has been instrumental in helping us respond to the COVID-19 pandemic using standardized data and continues to be crucial for tracking progress towards universal health coverage. We hope all countries will take advantage of ICD-11’s powerful new features.”

Among other updates, ICD-11 improves the clarity of terms for the general public and facilitates the coding of important details such as the spread of cancer or the exact site and type of a fracture. The new version also includes updated diagnostic recommendations for mental health conditions and digital documentation of COVID-19 certificates.

These updates reflect recent progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding. For example, codes relating to antimicrobial resistance are now aligned with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS). ICD-11 is also more capable of capturing data on health-care safety, thus identifying and reducing unnecessary events that may harm health such as unsafe workflows in hospitals.

ICD is used by health insurers who make reimbursement decisions on the basis of ICD coding, by national health programme managers, by data collection specialists, and by anyone who tracks progress in global health and determines health resource allocation.

“A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding and provide users with all necessary electronic tooling – this will allow health-care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions,” says Dr Robert Jakob, Team Lead, Classifications Terminologies and Standards, WHO. 

In addition to coding and capability updates, ICD-11 includes new chapters on traditional medicine, sexual health, and gaming disorder – which has now been added to the section on addictive disorders.

ICD-11 was adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 and Member States committed to start using it for mortality and morbidity reporting in 2022. Since 2019, early adopter countries, translators, and scientific groups have recommended further refinements to produce the version that is posted online today.

WHO remains committed to supporting all countries as they move towards implementing and scaling-up ICD-11.

What is ICD:

ICD-11 is linked to the WHO non-proprietary names of pharmaceutical products, and it can be used for causes of death, primary care, cancer registration, patient safety, dermatology, pain documentation, allergology, reimbursement, clinical documentation, data dictionaries for WHO guidelines, digital documentation of COVID-19 vaccination status and test results, and more. ICD-11 is designed to be used in multiple languages with a central translation platform that ensures its features and outputs are available in all translated languages. Transition tables to and from ICD-10 support migration to ICD-11. The extension codes of ICD-11 can also be used alone for purposes beyond health statistics.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) provides a common language that allows health professionals to share standardized information across the world. The eleventh revision contains around 17 000 unique codes, more than 120 000 codable terms and is now entirely digital.

All Member States are encouraged to follow their commitment to move on to ICD-11 documented with their approval of ICD-11 at the 72nd meeting of the World Health Assembly in 2019, and use the most current version of ICD for recording and reporting mortality and morbidity statistics both nationally and internationally.

New in ICD-11 2022

  • 35 countries are using ICD-11. 
  • Current implemented uses of ICD-11 include causes of death, primary care, cancer registration, patient safety, dermatology, pain documentation, allergology, reimbursement, clinical documentation, data dictionaries for WHO guidelines*, digital documentation of COVID-19 vaccination status and test results, and more.
  • French language is now available alongside ArabicChineseEnglish, & Spanish. Russian and 20 more languages are underway.
  • Integration in DHIS2. 
  • Terminology coding with the coding tool and API.
  • Rare diseases coding.
  • Support for perinatal and maternal coding.
  • 900 proposals were processed based on input from early adopters, translators, scientists, clinicians and partners.
  • Grade and stage coding for cancers.
  • Clinical Descriptions and Diagnostic Requirements for mental health.

* WHO SMART Guidelines include Antenatal Care (ANC) Family Planning (FP), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health (ASRH), HIV, Immunizations (EIR), Child Health in Emergency Settings (Em Care).

ICD-11 was specifically designed for the following use cases: 

  • Certification and reporting of causes of death
  • Morbidity coding and reporting including primary care
  • Casemix and Diagnosis-Related Grouping (DRG)
  • Assessing and monitoring the safety, efficacy, and quality of care
  • Cancer registries 
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Researching and performing clinical trials and epidemiological studies
  • Assessing functioning 
  • Coding traditional medicine conditions
  • Interoperability standard in  WHO Digital Guidelines and for Digital Documentation of COVID-19 Certificates (DDCC)
  • Clinical documentation 

ICD-11 key features

  • The eleventh revision contains around 17 000 unique codes,  more than 120 000 codable terms and is now entirely digital.
  • Smart coding algorithm: Now interprets more than 1.6 million terms.
  • State of the art Coding tool: Easily codes all detail.
  • Digital reference guide.
  • ICD-11 Download area: Include spreadsheets, pdf version, mapping tables, updates, list of codes that should not be used alone and more.
  • Multilingual integrated API.
  • Multilingual Browser and Coding tool.
  • Offline functionality.
  • Local deployment options for ICD-API: Docker, Windows or Linux service.
  • Technical content model reference guide to define and explain the content model used for the WHO Family of Classifications (ICD-11, ICHI  and ICF). 
  • Implementation package to facilitate the transition from outdated ICD-10 to ICD-11. This package can be found on ICD-11 page and includes the Transition and Implementation Guide, ICD-11 Fact Sheet, information on ICD-API web services, ICD-11 self-learning training package, training platform, cause of death analysis tool (ANACoD-3), ICD-11 license and more. 

To submit questions and suggestions related to ICD-11 contact [email protected]

Source: Official Media release of The World Health Organization. IBG NEWS is an enlisted Media House with WHO and all items are property of WHO.

About Post Author

Suman Munshi

Founder Editor of IBG NEWS (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018). Recipient of Udar Akash Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain Award 2018. National Geographic & Canon Wild Clicks 2011 jury and public poll winner. Studied Post Graduate Advance Dip in Computer Sc., MBA IT,LIMS (USA & Australia), GxP(USA & UK),BA (Sociology) Dip in Journalism (Ireland), Diploma in Vedic Astrology, Numerology, Palmistry, Vastu Shastra & Feng Sui 25 years in the digital & IT industry with Global MNCs' worked & traveled in USA, UK, Europe, Singapore, Australia, Bangladesh & many other countries. Education and Training advance management and R&D Technology from India, USA, UK, Australia. Over 30 Certification from Global leaders in R&D and Education. Computer Science Teacher, IT & LIMS expert with a wide fan following in his community. General Secretary West Bengal State Committee of All Indian Reporter’s Association
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