June 7, 2024


By Janine Mothershed

Insights into what the implementation process might entail and the potential impact it could have when it occurs.

  1. Transition Planning: Implementing ICD-11-CM would require extensive planning and coordination among healthcare stakeholders, including government agencies, healthcare providers, insurers, and software vendors. Transition plans would need to address training needs, system upgrades, and compliance requirements. This is why lawmakers delayed ICD-10-CM multiple times before it was finally implemented in 2015.
  2. Training and Education: Healthcare professionals, including medical coders, physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff, would require training on the use of ICD-11-CM. Training programs would need to cover coding conventions, guidelines, and new features introduced in the updated classification system. WHO has a training tool available now. https://icdcdn.who.int/icd11training/index.html
  3. System Upgrades: Healthcare IT systems, including electronic health record (EHR) systems and coding software, would need to be updated to support ICD-11-CM. This may involve modifications to code sets, data structures, and user interfaces to accommodate the new classification system.
  4. Coding Challenges and Opportunities: ICD-11-CM introduces several changes compared to previous versions, including updates to disease classifications, terminology, and coding rules. While these changes may present initial challenges for coders and healthcare organizations, they also offer opportunities to improve coding accuracy, granularity, and alignment with international standards.
  5. Data Reporting and Analysis: ICD-11-CM includes enhancements to support data reporting and analysis for public health surveillance, research, and quality improvement initiatives. The updated classification system provides greater detail and specificity in coding diseases, conditions, and procedures, which can facilitate more comprehensive data capture and analysis.
  6. International Alignment: Implementing ICD-11-CM aligns the United States with international coding standards, promoting interoperability and data exchange with other countries. This alignment supports global health initiatives, research collaborations, and comparative analyses of healthcare outcomes and trends.
  7. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Healthcare organizations would need to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements related to medical coding, documentation, and reimbursement. This may involve updating policies, procedures, and billing practices to adhere to ICD-11-CM coding guidelines and reporting requirements.

While the transition to ICD-11-CM may present challenges for healthcare organizations, it also offers opportunities to improve coding practices, enhance data quality, and support more robust healthcare data analytics and research. As the implementation process unfolds, stakeholders will need to collaborate closely to ensure a smooth transition and maximize the benefits of the updated classification system.

Key differences between the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) and the International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision (ICD-11), particularly in the context of medical coding:

  1. Structure and Organization: One of the notable differences between ICD-10 and ICD-11 is their structure and organization. ICD-11 has a more hierarchical and linear structure compared to the alphanumeric coding system of ICD-10. Additionally, ICD-11 incorporates electronic links between related codes, allowing for better navigation and retrieval of information.
  2. Granularity and Specificity: ICD-11 offers greater granularity and specificity in disease classification compared to ICD-10. It includes more detailed codes for diseases, conditions, and procedures, allowing for more precise coding and data capture. This enhanced granularity can improve the accuracy of clinical documentation and facilitate more robust healthcare data analysis and research.
  3. Clinical Descriptions: ICD-11 includes clinical descriptions for many diseases and conditions, providing additional context and information to aid in accurate coding and clinical decision-making. These clinical descriptions help coders and healthcare providers better understand the underlying pathology and clinical presentation of a given disease, improving coding accuracy and clinical documentation.
  4. Integration of Terminologies: ICD-11 integrates terminologies from other classification systems, such as SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine — Clinical Terms), to enhance interoperability and alignment with international standards. This integration allows for more comprehensive and standardized coding of clinical concepts across different healthcare settings and regions.
  5. Digital Capabilities: ICD-11 incorporates digital capabilities, such as electronic tagging and linking of codes, to support interoperability, data exchange, and integration with electronic health record (EHR) systems. These digital features enable more efficient coding workflows, improved data capture, and enhanced data analytics for public health surveillance and research.
  6. Continual Updates: Unlike ICD-10, which received periodic updates and revisions, ICD-11 is designed to be continually updated and maintained in real-time. This dynamic approach allows for timely incorporation of new medical knowledge, emerging diseases, and changes in healthcare practices, ensuring that the classification system remains current and relevant over time.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has several ICD-11 manuals available online, including:
  • Clinical descriptions and diagnostic requirements for ICD-11 mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders (CDDR): A manual to help identify and diagnose these disorders in clinical settings
  • ICD-11 2023 release: Available for download from the ICD-11 Browser’s info menu
  • WHO-FIC Content Model Reference Guide: A guide to the content model of the eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11) https://icd.who.int/browse/2024-01/mms/en

Overall, while both ICD-10 and ICD-11 serve as standardized systems for coding diseases and medical procedures, ICD-11 offers several advancements in terms of structure, granularity, clinical descriptions, digital capabilities, and integration with other terminologies. These differences contribute to more accurate, comprehensive, and interoperable coding practices in healthcare settings.


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