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ICD-11 Readiness

January 03, 2022
A person examines data on a handheld device and on a wall-sized screen display

In recent years, medical and technological advancements and the digitization of health data have transformed healthcare. Until now, however, medical professionals around the world relied on an outdated and “siloed” method to track diseases.

The International Classifications of Diseases (ICD) is a system by which the global healthcare community records, monitors and tracks morbidity and mortality data.1 The prior system, ICD-10, was adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1990, long before the widespread use of electronic health records, telemedicine and telehealth, and the introduction of artificial intelligence in healthcare.2,3,4

ICD-11, formally adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2019, went into effect on January 1, 2022, amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.5 Among its many benefits, ICD-11 features updated scientific knowledge, a multilingual browser and coding tool, and the ability to be used online and offline. The system can be quickly scaled as science and technology evolve.5 ICD-11 marks a significant update to the old system—one which will make the healthcare community better equipped to protect the health of the world’s citizens. This requires ICD-11 readiness among healthcare professionals and organizations in all parts of the world.

What is ICD-11?

ICD-11 is a browser-based, global database of disease information used for entering morbidity and mortality information. It has more than 120,000 medical diagnostic terms, 80,000 concepts and more than 1.6 million clinical terms.5 This tool is designed to be integrated with digital systems, and it supports many different uses, including daily medical care and research.

The purpose of ICD-11 is to provide:

  • Universal access to an online tool for inputting and sharing disease information
  • Timely, accurate and standardized data to improve access to care and health outcomes, as well as reduce the cost of healthcare
  • A system that can adapt to rapidly changing technology and medical advancements5

ICD-11 supports uses as diverse as population health and disease surveillance, patient engagement and healthcare reimbursement.5

How Do ICD-10 and ICD-11 Differ?

Ensuring ICD-11 readiness involves understanding the differences between the new system and its predecessor. The evolution and improvements in ICD-11, relative to ICD 10, reflect three important factors that have developed since 1990:

  • The global increase in medical knowledge
  • The need for an electronic system that allows for software integration
  • The changing needs of the world health community

Primary differences between ICD-10 and ICD-11 include:

An improved coding structure with 55,000 codes to classify injuries, disorders, diseases and causes of death, with the capacity for greater detail.6

Translations into 43 languages and guidance for different cultures to facilitate worldwide use and comparisons by healthcare professionals and researchers.6 ICD-10 was originally released only in English.

A user-friendly design that operates on a central platform, with the ability to connect to other software. Data is in a machine-readable format.6

New chapters reflect advancements in medical diagnoses and treatments in different regions. These include immune system diseases, traditional medicine, sleep-wake disorders, sexual health, developmental anomalies and functioning assessment. There are also improvements for different cancers, medications, substances, devices, severity and causes of injuries.7

The ability to choose simple coding or complex clinical detail, which wasn’t available in ICD-10.7

These changes have been designed to make the data more accessible and useful for a wider audience, with the primary mission of improving global health.

How Are ICD-10 and ICD-11 Used in Healthcare?

In clinical settings, ICD-10 has been used not just for diagnosing illnesses and diseases, but for billing purposes, as well. The clinical modification (ICD-10-CM) is a code set that is used by doctors for their patients, under strict guidelines established by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They use it to track statistics and disease burden, outcomes and mortality statistics. Although the code was not designed for billing purposes, it affects the amount of payment a provider receives.8

In addition to primary healthcare, there are many other uses for the ICD system. With its greater accessibility, ICD-11 is intended to broaden these uses, which include:

  • Epidemiology, disease surveillance and monitoring
  • National and international statistics on health conditions, including morbidity and mortality
  • Patient information and electronic health records
  • Treatment guidelines, scientific research and literature
  • Assessment of individual cases
  • Monitoring and outcomes of health systems
  • Reimbursements and financing of health systems
  • Patient and device safety
  • Antimicrobial resistance, sepsis, injuries, rare diseases
  • Collecting evidence on traditional medicine treatments
  • Functioning assessment: World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS) 2.09
  • Decision support system (DSS)
  • Cancer registry
  • Emergency reporting10

Information is easily accessible to all users on the platform.

Who Needs ICD-11 Readiness?

Healthcare workers using ICD-11 include physicians, nurses and other providers, health information (HI) managers and coders, policymakers, HI technology professionals, insurance companies and patient organizations. Researchers will also be using ICD-11 to gather accurate and up-to-date health information.11 As a result, ICD-11 readiness should be a primary goal of all healthcare professionals.

ICD-11’s Impact on Healthcare Professionals and Patients

The implementation of ICD-11, with its wide accessibility around the world, is expected to have a positive impact on healthcare workers and patients. Physicians can use the new system to obtain detailed information about patients’ conditions, as well as treatment options. They can follow the history of diseases and conditions over time and stay informed about emerging new health challenges. Healthcare facility managers can use the data as evidence for reimbursement requests as well as for resource allocation and strategic financial management.

Patients will benefit greatly from ICD-11 readiness, in that their healthcare providers will have easy access to the latest information about their conditions and treatment options. Informed physicians and nurses mean higher-quality care and better health outcomes.

On a wider level, the full realization of all that advanced medical knowledge and sophisticated health informatics have to offer has an enormous impact on public health. The ease of communication between healthcare professionals in all regions of the world creates an invaluable tool that can help in disease diagnostics, treatment and prevention, for a healthier planet.

To Lead in Healthcare, Continuing Education is Essential

From ICD-11 readiness to understanding the latest tools and methods, the field of health informatics is advancing rapidly, creating a challenge for healthcare professionals.

Kent State University’s online MS in Health Informatics program empowers you with the in-depth theoretical knowledge and practical experience you need to succeed and make an impact in this exciting field. The immersive online curriculum, taught by expert practitioner faculty, is designed for working professionals seeking to expand their career possibilities. To learn more, reach out to one of our Admissions Advisors today.

  1. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from icd10monitor.com/icd-11-is-coming-prepare-now
  2. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from cms.gov/Medicare/E-Health/EHealthRecords
  3. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from aafp.org/news/media-center/kits/telemedicine-and-telehealth.html
  4. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from mobihealthnews.com/news/contributed-top-10-use-cases-ai-healthcare
  5. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from ifhimasitemedia.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/06233005/Infographic-ICD-11.pdf
  6. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from verywellmind.com/overview-of-the-icd-11-4589392
  7. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from allzonems.com/transition-to-icd-11/
  8. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from aappublications.org/news/2019/02/06/coding020619
  9. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from who.int/standards/classifications/international-classification-of-functioning-disability-and-health/who-disability-assessment-schedule
  10. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from ifhimasitemedia.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/19002142/ICD-11-2020-Release-Notes.pdf
  11. Retrieved on November 1, 2021, from who.int/classifications/icd/revision/icd11faqs.pdf