The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday released a draft of the organization's latest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11)—a compendium of about 55,000 unique codes for causes of death, diseases, and injuries.
ICD codes give health care professionals a common language to share health data globally. Insurers also use the codes for generating reimbursements.
WHO Director-General Adhanom Ghebreyesus said ICD codes "enable[e] us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives."
Details on ICD-11
WHO has been developing ICD-11 for more than a decade, the New York Times reports. According to a WHO release, health care professionals have had "unprecedented involvement" in creating ICD-11, joining collaborative meetings and submitting proposals for the update. Overall, WHO's ICD team received more than 10,000 proposed revisions for ICD-11.
WHO released the draft version of ICD-11 to allow countries to determine how they would use ICD-11 and give them an opportunity to prepare translations and train health care professionals, Becker's ASC Review reports.
ICD-11 will be the first compendium made available in a fully electronic version. It is designed to be more user-friendly than previous versions, and is intended to help capture better data on health care safety, according to the release. Robert Jakob, the leader of WHO's Classifications Terminologies and Standards team, said, "A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling—this will allow health care professionals to more easily and completely record conditions."
ICD-11 contains updates aimed at identifying and mitigating unnecessary events—such as unsafe hospital workflows—that might pose health risks. For instance, ICD-11 codes related to antimicrobial resistance are more closely aligned with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System.
ICD-11 also includes new chapters on sexual health and traditional medicine, and adds gaming disorder to its section on "addictive disorders"—a move that has sparked some pushback from mental health professionals who do not consider gaming disorder a standalone medical condition and instead see the disorder as a side effect of anxiety or depression, the Times reports.
ICD-11's final version will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 and is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022. But, according to MedPage Today, it could be a while before those codes are implemented in the United States. WHO released the current iteration of ICD codes, ICD-10, in 1993, but the United States did not fully implement the codes until 2015, MedPage Today reports (Stewart, Becker's ASC Review, 6/15; WHO release, 6/15; Hsu, New York Times, 6/17; Walker, MedPage Today, 6/18).
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