ICD-11: Coding made easier

March 15, 2023 / By Benny Ruiz

As the world of coding is always evolving, there were no surprises with the announcement of ICD-11 (11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases). The newest revision of ICD was endorsed by the World Health Assembly at the 72nd meeting in 2019 and came into effect globally on Jan. 1, 2022. The World Health Organization (WHO) formally launched the process of revising ICD-10 back in 2007. Countries have been encouraged to begin implementation and reporting with ICD-11 in line with their commitment. The WHO’s Classification and Terminologies unit has developed an implementation package to help transition from the old coding system to the newest version; these documents can be found on the ICD-11 page.The documents include theTransition or Implementation Guide, ICD-11 Fact Sheet, information on ICD-APIweb services, ICD-11 training package, ICD-11 Licenseand much more. Currently, 31 countries are using ICD-11.  

In comparison to previous ICD versions, ICD-11 comes with many key features. ICD-11 is entirely digital with an exceptional framework that contains multilingual capabilities that reduce the chance of error. It also contains around 17,000 unique codes for items such as injuries, diseases and causes of death. There are more than 120,000 codable terms. With the addition of “cluster coding,” coders can now capture more clinical concepts in greater detail. ICD-11 focuses on improving the clarity of terms for the general public. This means focusing on the importance of metastatic cancer, fracture sites and types, and reflecting the changes of medicine throughout the years. Medicine is ever-changing, as is the world of ICD coding.  

In addition to many of the newest features, ICD-11 includes sections on traditional medicine, sexual health and gaming disorders, which has now been added to the section for addictive disorders. Gaming disorders are just one of many coding problems that ICD-11 will solve. Diabetes coding has been simplified, and external causes have expanded to help with coding traffic accidents. HIV subdivisions have been updated due to a lack of details within ICD-10. ICD-11 has not only gone to great depths to help improve coding at the highest level of specificity, but it’s also created a platform that is easily accessible, functional and user-friendly for anyone involved within the health care industry.  

Benny Ruiz is a clinical development analyst for 3M Health Information Systems.