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The International Classification of Diseases


The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the world’s standard tool to capture morbidity and mortality data. It organizes and codes health information that is used for statistics and epidemiology, health care management, allocation of resources, monitoring and evaluation, research, primary care, prevention and treatment. It helps to provide a picture of the general health situation of countries and populations.

To compare findings among countries, a common standard is needed. Emerging diseases and scientific developments, advances in service delivery, and changes in health information systems require a revision of ICD. One major need is to improve the relevance of the ICD in primary care settings. Another key driver is the development of computerized health information systems.

The 11th version (ICD-11) is now being developed through an innovative, collaborative process. For the first time The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on experts and users to participate in the revision process through a web-based platform. The outcome will be a classification that is based on user input and needs. The WHO has also established Topic Advisory Groups (TAGs) to serve as the planning and coordinating advisory bodies in the update and revision process for specific issues. Accordingly, the tasks required of each TAG include:

  • developing a preliminary position statement on each core diagnostic issues; 
  • reviewing the empirical evidence;
  • generating summary proposals on the revision platform for comments by other groups;
  • revising reports as necessary based on comments received;
  • conducting field trials; and
  • submitting final revisions and recommendations to the WHO

The WHO has approached The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in developing the first ever Pediatric TAG and requires Pediatric TAG representation from each of its six regions . Recruitment is conducted through a number of different sources, including the International Pediatric Association (IPA)

A recent Pediatric TAG meeting was held during March 8-9, 2013 at AAP headquarter in Elk Grove Village, Chicago, U.S.A. This will improve the Pediatric ICD-11 by incorporating pediatric specific needs into the morbidity and mortality nomenclature.

Professor Usa Thisyakorn, MD
President, Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of Thailand
Member of ICD-11 Pediatric TAG

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