Access ICD-11

ICD-11 is here! A version released on 18 June 2018 is available for Member States and other stakeholders to use in order to begin preparations for implementation in country, such as preparing translations.

ICD purpose and uses

ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD 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.

Uses include monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases, observing reimbursements and resource allocation trends, and keeping track of safety and quality guidelines. They also include the counting of deaths as well as diseases, injuries, symptoms, reasons for encounter, factors that influence health status, and external causes of disease.

History of ICD

The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893.

WHO was entrusted with the ICD at its creation in 1948 and published the 6th version, ICD-6, that incorporated morbidity for the first time.

The WHO Nomenclature Regulations, adopted in 1967, stipulated that Member States use the most current ICD revision for mortality and morbidity statistics.

The ICD has been revised and published in a series of editions to reflect advances in health and medical science over time.

ICD-10 was endorsed in May 1990 by the Forty-third World Health Assembly. It is cited in more than 20,000 scientific articles and used by more than 100 countries around the world.

A version of ICD-11 was released on 18 June 2018 to allow Member States to prepare for implementation, including translating ICD into their national languages.

ICD-11 will be submitted to the 144th Executive Board Meeting in January 2019 and the Seventy-second World Health Assembly in May 2019 and, following endorsement, Member States will start reporting using ICD-11 on 1 January 2022.


ICD has been reviewed to accommodate for the needs of multiple use cases and users in recording, reporting, and analysis of health information. ICD-11 comes with:

  • Improved usability – more clinical detail with less training tim
  • Updated scientific content
  • Enables coding of all clinical detail
  • Made eHealth ready for use in electronic environment
  • Linked to relevant other classifications and terminologie
  • Full multilingual support (translations and outputs)

Implementation Support

A suite of tools and functionality facilitate implementation and use of ICD-11:
Coding tool (multilingual)
– Index based searching of classification
– Spelling-synonyms no problem
– Offline versions
– Web services (for coding by software)
ICD-11 browser (multilingual)
– See foundation and tabular list (linearization) – grid view – postcoordination
– Download versions
– Compare between releases
– See differences
– Access to all information material and tools
Reference Guide
– Learn what ICD-11 is, how to use it and what is new in ICD-11
– Mortality and morbidity coding rules
– Medical certificate of cause of death
Unique Reference Identifier (URI) and code combinations
– Retain all detail as reported at the source, e.g. rare diseases
– Analyze and tabulate complex information
– Enable linkages other systems
Specialty versions
– Provide more detail for particular user groups, such as Dermatology, Mental Health, and others
– Provide less detail for particular use cases, such as Startup Mortality List (SMoL),Low diagnostic resource settings, or primary care
Proposal and commenting tool
– Make suggestions and discuss them
– Notifications
Implementation assessment tool (multilingual)
– Coding of diagnostic terms in ICD-11 and ICD-10
– Test translation in multiple languages
Translation tool
– Translate to your language
Mapping from and to ICD-10
– Download maps

User Guidance

WHO provides user support in the form of a Reference guide for ICD-11 (Volume 2) to guide users to the correct ICD-11 code, as well as a new Coding Tool for online users.


ICD-11 is updated at regular rates, maintaining clinical relevance without disrupting statistical continuity. Proposals for improvements are submitted on the proposal platform of ICD-11.

WHO receives the advice on how to process the proposals from the Family of International Classifications Network (WHOFIC) and:
Classifications and Statistics Advisory Commitee (CSAC)
– Includes experts from countries and from the groups listed below
Medical Scientific Advisory Committee (MSAC)
– Ensures scientific accuracy and clinical relevance of ICD
– Keeps links with the scientific community
Mortality Reference Group
– Advises on all aspects in relation to use of ICD in cause of death coding and rules
Morbidity Reference Group
– Advises on all aspects in relation to use of ICD in morbidity coding and rules
Functioning and Disability Reference Group
– Advises on all aspects that relate to documentation and coding of functioning


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