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ICD-11 Officially Released for Implementation

On February 11th, the World Health Organization (WHO) released ICD-11 2022. This is the official version of the eleventh revision of the International Classification of Diseases that WHO member countries will be implementing worldwide. In fact, according to the WHO release announcement, 35 countries are already using ICD-11.

The WHO began developing this eleventh version of ICD in 2007 and first released a preliminary version for evaluation and testing in 2016. And in May 2019, the World Health Assembly adopted ICD-11 for implementation in 2022.

Since releasing ICD-11 for testing, The WHO has received and processed 900 proposals which represent input from early adopter countries, translators, and scientific groups. The 2022 version of ICD-11 posted online this month reflects these refinements. Some of the updates in ICD-11 2022 include:

  • Rare disease coding
  • Support for perinatal and maternal coding
  • Grade and stage coding for cancers
  • Updated diagnostic recommendations for mental health conditions
  • Codes for antimicrobial resistance, based on the Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS)

Readers may recall from previous articles, ICD-11 is entirely digital with integrated API tools to facilitate implementation. In addition, according to the WHO, this eleventh version of ICD was compiled and updated with input from over 90 countries, which represents unprecedented involvement of health-care providers. Thus, ICD-11 is thoroughly and scientifically updated and designed for use in a digital world.

With this release of ICD-11 2022, the eleventh version of ICD officially comes into effect and the WHO is encouraging all member countries to move on to ICD-11. That means, at a minimum, ICD-11 is expected to be used for mortality reporting (meaning reporting causes of death on death certificates). In addressing implementation timeframes, the WHO anticipates countries who have not used a previous version, and have a fairly simple information system, may need 1-2 years. In contrast, countries with highly sophisticated information systems, where earlier versions of ICD are already in use, may require 4 -5 years to transition to ICD-11. The latter certainly describes the U.S., where ICD-10-CM is imbedded throughout our healthcare system.

So when will the U.S. replace ICD-10-CM and begin using a version of ICD-11 for reporting on health care claims? Well, we don’t know yet. But this release of the official ICD-11 is sure to spur activity in this respect. In September 2021, the NCVHS issued recommendations to the Secretary of HHS advising on a research agenda to evaluate the use of ICD-11 in the U.S. This release of the official ICD-11 2022 version from the WHO is sure to increase research activity.

So, while the timeline for a U.S. transition to ICD-11 is still uncertain, it’s clear that planning for the transition to ICD-11 is underway. And one thing is certain, it’s imperative to monitor ICD-11 planning now that the official version of ICD-11 has been released.

Mary H. Stanfill is Vice President of Consulting Services for United Audit Systems, Inc. and is the official representative of the IFHIMA to the WHO Family of International Classifications Education and Implementation (EIC) and Morbidity Reference Group (MbRG) workgroups. She has over 35 years of experience in the health information profession, primarily focused on clinical classification of healthcare data. She holds a masters in biomedical informatics and is currently pursuing a doctorate in health informatics.