ICD-11: Classifying disease to map the way we live and die

ICD-11: Classifying disease to map the way we live and die

WHO released a new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Over a decade in the making, this completely electronic version reflects progress in medicine and advances in scientific understanding.

One change that is attracting a lot of media attention is the addition of “gaming disorder” to the section on addictive disorders. Other additions include new chapters on traditional medicine and sexual health.

“The ICD is a product that WHO is truly proud of," says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “It enables us to understand so much about what makes people get sick and die, and to take action to prevent suffering and save lives."

The ICD is the foundation for identifying health trends and statistics worldwide, and contains around 55 000 unique codes for injuries, diseases and causes of death. It provides a common language that allows health professionals to share health information across the globe.

The revision has had unprecedented involvement of health care workers and WHO’s ICD team in Geneva received more than 10 000 proposals for revisions.

“Around 70% of the world’s health resources are allocated based on ICD-coded data,” says Robert Jakob, Team Leader, Classifications Terminologies and Standards. “ICD matters to everybody as it serves to standardize the way diseases are diagnosed and recorded.”

ICD-11 will be presented at the World Health Assembly in May 2019 for adoption by Member States, and will come into effect on 1 January 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.

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