New International Classification of Diseases in effect

Washington – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) says the World Health Organisation (WHO) Eleventh Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) has now come into effect.

PAHO said the ICD provides a common language that allows health professionals to share standardised 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,” PAHO said. “By using code combinations, more than 1.6 million clinical situations can now be coded.”

Compared with previous versions, PAHO said 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,” PAHO said.

“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 WHO.

“ICD has been instrumental in helping us respond to the COVID-19 pandemic using standardised 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,” she added.

Among other updates, PAHO said ICD-11 improves the clarity of terms for the general public and facilitates the coding of important details, such as the spread of a 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,” said PAHO, adding that these updates reflect recent progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding.

For example, PAHO said 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,” PAHO said.

It said ICD is used by health insurers who make reimbursement decisions on the basis of ICD coding, by national health program 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,” said Dr Robert Jakob, Team Lead, Classifications Terminologies and Standards, WHO.

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

PAHO said ICD-11 was adopted at the World Health Assembly in May 2019, stating that member states committed to start using it for mortality and morbidity reporting in 2022.

Since 2019, PAHO said early adopter countries, translators and scientific groups have recommended further refinements to produce the version that is posted online. (CMC)

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