Understanding The ICD-11 Classification Model

Data capturing and classification have been the norm in multiple industries for ages. In terms of clinical documentation, it first began as a process to identify causes of death. Soon the scope of data capturing widened and incorporated everything from the state of health to comorbidities and the impact on an individual’s overall health and well-being – culminating in the formation of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). 

The World Health Organization (WHO) became the highest authority in the system in 1948 as it took charge with the release of the sixth edition of the ICD. With this update, along with collecting data about morbidity and mortality, ICD expanded its usage in areas of medical research and allocation of resources. 

The process of change and updation has been a norm with ICD. The latest version, ICD-11, was released by WHO in January 2022. The revised version was created to be more user-friendly, versatile, and comprehensive and be able to meet the demands of the rapidly changing healthcare system.

Let us dive deeper into the new and understand the changes incorporated into the coding system with respect to ICD-10. 


What Is ICD-11?

International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a system of codes created by the World Health Organization to classify various physical and psychological diseases as per standardized indicators or criteria. ICD is used around the world for the documentation of health-related data. It is also used for billings, reimbursements, insurance claims, and other health initiatives in the United States. 

ICD-11 is the latest revised version of ICD. Most hospitals in the country previously functioned on the ICD-10 version. However, since America is a member of WHO, all health-related financial transactions in the country are transitioning to the ICD-11 standards. 

The revisions in ICD-11 aim to fix the gaps in the previous editions of the system and incorporate the latest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs in the field of medical science. The latest version of ICD is also in sync with technological advancements, as its codes are software agnostic. Software-agnostic codes or systems have the ability to run consistently, irrespective of the device used. 

Read more: The Many Selves Within – A Guide To Dissociative Identity Disorder

What are the changes in ICD-11 with respect to ICD-10?

While ICD-11 is not a complete departure from ICD-10, there are significant distinctions between the two versions.

1. Coding Structure

The coding structure of ICD-11 is much more streamlined, detailed, and specific than ICD-10. With 55000 codes as compared to the 14,400 in ICD-10, ICD-11 allows for more accurate and fine detailing of illnesses. It translates into better diagnoses and treatment plans. 

Another critical feature of ICD-11 is that it provides a much simpler structure for coding that will make it easier to record data and reduce the chances of errors. 

2. Easier organizational structure

ICD-11 has an easier and more logical organizational structure that will make it easier for healthcare providers to navigate. The system is divided into three parts:

  • part 1, including general disorders and illnesses,
  • part 2, including injuries, and
  • part 3, including the causes of death. 

3. Greater flexibility

ICD-11, unlike its previous counterparts, allows greater flexibility. This way, it has the ability to add new codes whenever deemed necessary. This feature is significant concerning the latest developments in medical science. The flexible nature of ICD-11 will be able to incorporate emerging illnesses and disorders more quickly. 

Changes For Mental Health In ICD-11

There have been several changes in the context of mental health and disorders in ICD-11. These include the following:

  • new diagnosis for ADHD,
  • addition of gaming disorder and compulsive sexual disorder,
  • addition of diagnosis for complex post-traumatic disorder and narrowing of the definition of PTSD,
  • new diagnosis for prolonged grief disorder,
  • removal of gender incongruence from mental disorders and its addition to sexual health,
  • removal of acute stress as a disorder and its addition under the section of trauma responses, and
  • overhaul of the diagnosis of personality disorders. 

Read more: Histrionic Personality Disorder – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments


ICD-11 is the latest edition of the Internation Classification of Diseases released by WHO in 2022. It is a huge step forward for the healthcare sector worldwide. It makes the language of health and medicine more prompt and in sync with the latest demands of the healthcare world.

Apart from ICD, America uses another diagnosis and treatment manual, the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual – DSM-V. To learn more about it, click here.

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