International Classification of Disease (ICD)

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ICD is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. It defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion that allows for:

  • easy storage, retrieval and analysis of health information for evidenced-based decision-making;
  • sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings and countries; and
  • data comparisons in the same location across different time periods.

There has been many editions and versions since the first international classification, the International List of Causes of Death, created in 1893. Revisions are necessary to reflect advances in health and medical science over time. Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) must use and report according to the most current ICD revision.

ICD-10 was endorsed in May 1990 by the Forty-third World Health Assembly. The most recent version, ICD-11, was released on 18 June 2018 and will be submitted to the Executive Board Meeting in January 2019 and the World Health Assembly in May 2019. Following their endorsement, Member States will start reporting using ICD-11 on 1 January 2022. In the meantime, stakeholders are encouraged to examine ICD-11 to prepare its implementation.