What is ICD-10?

ICD-10 is the global reference base for morbidity and mortality statistics used by many healthcare systems and researchers worldwide. Officially, its full name is the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, and it has been promoted and monitored by WHO since 1948.

Today, it is considered as a global information standard for clinical care and research. Its use provides better disease monitoring, data transparency, and facilitates financial management. It is widely used in epidemiology, clinical research, and everyday healthcare practice.

ICD-10 is primarily used to define diseases, study disease patterns and subgroups, manage healthcare, monitor outcomes, and even allocate resources. ICD-10 facilitates international comparability in collecting, processing, classification, and presentation of disease-related data.

Brief History of ICD-10

This system was initially introduced as the International list of Causes of Death by the International Statistics Institute of London in 1893. WHO was entrusted with the maintenance of this classification system in 1948, when the 6th version of the system was released. The WHO insists that its member states use the most current version of ICD in their health practices.

ICD-10 is the tenth version. Over the years, the system has been improved and its developmental timeline reflects developing healthcare advances. ICD-10 has about ten times as many codes for medical conditions compared to its predecessor, and it has been in official use since 1992.

The eleventh edition, ICD-11, was officially accepted by the World Health Assembly in 2018, and it is considered as a significant step forward because it will comprehensively enhance the standardization of digital health. It will be active as of January 1st, 2020.

How Does ICD-10 work?

ICD-10 is the technological platform created and maintained to share health-related information by using a unified language.

Technically, ICD-10 is a comprehensive system of diagnostic codes used for disease classification. Each code defines the primary disease, and has broadening criteria for every nuance class, including symptoms, signs, unordinary findings, circumstances, complaints, and even therapy adverse effects. The designated code for each condition is up to six figures long, and it relates to appropriate genetic categories.

In other words, every disease, injury, or other health condition is defined and grouped as an individual entity, which has both descriptive and statistical values.

Who uses ICD-10?

There are more than 100 countries that use this standard worldwide. It has been translated into 43 languages, and It has been cited in more than 20,000 scientific articles.

ICD-10 is used by physicians, nurses, health workers, clinical researchers, health information managers, and policymakers.

It is also used as a referencing standard for managing resources, for as 70% of global healthcare expenditures, such as reimbursements and resource allocations are calculated using ICD-10.

The Benefits of ICD-10 in Clinical Trials

It facilitates evidence-based decisions by providing quick retrieval and analysis of health information. ICD-10 also helps in sharing related information between healthcare settings, regions, and hospitals.

The coding system leads to more extensive information on comorbidities and (serious) adverse events. Additionally, it allows the interpretation of a patient’s medical history in a more detailed and comprehensive way, thus aiding patient selection and providing better outcomes.

It allows researchers to set up a trial and maintain clarity through its available statistical information, such as prevalence, incidence, and financial burdens of disease.

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