WHO releases ICD-11: 5 things to know

After more than a decade in the making, the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases has been released by the World Health Organization.

The ICD serves as a foundation for identifying global health trends and statistics and is used by health insurers whose reimbursements depend on ICD coding.

Five things to know:

1. The new edition carries about 55,000 codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. By comparison, the 10th edition had 14,400 codes. And for the first time, the ICD is completely electronic.

"A key principle in this revision was to simplify the coding structure and electronic tooling. This will allow healthcare professionals to more easily and completely record conditions," said Robert Jakob, MD, team leader of classifications terminologies and standards for the WHO.

2. The new ICD will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by member states and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. "This release is an advance preview that will allow countries to plan how to use the new version, prepare translations and train health professionals all over the country," the WHO stated

3. In an effort to more closely reflect progress in medicine, the codes relating to antimicrobial resistance in the new ICD are more closely aligned with the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System.

4. The new ICD can also better capture data regarding healthcare safety, meaning it will help identify and reduce unnecessary events that may harm health, including unsafe workflows in hospitals.

5. This ICD has new chapters, including ones on traditional medicine and sexual health. Traditional medicine has not been classified in this system until now. The chapter on sexual health brings together conditions that were previously categorized in other ways. The WHO also added gaming disorder to the section on addictive disorders.

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