Guess what? ICD-11 waiting in wings

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Here’s something you may not want to hear as you scramble to meet the October 1, 2013, deadline for ICD-10 conversion: ICD-11 will be available about 2 years later. That reality was discussed at the recent American Health Information Management Association meeting, which featured a speaker from the World Health Organization, the developer of the International Classification of Diseases. Find out why the next conversion might not be as burdensome.

If upgrades and coding changes already have your head spinning, you may not want to hear the news from the recent American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) convention: ICD-11 is waiting in the wings.

U.S. providers must start using version 10 of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) on October 1, 2013, and ICD-11 will be ready about 2 years later, in 2015, according to T. Bedirhan Üstün, MD, PhD, team coordinator of classification, terminologies, and standards in the department of health statistics at the World Health Organization (WHO).

With U.S. implementation of ICD-10 scheduled for 2013, Üstün said, “you have been 23 years late, but you cannot afford to be later for the future.” Extended delays in adopting future revisions may produce an “electronic Tower of Babel,” he warned, impairing communication among healthcare entities worldwide.

ICD-10 was released in 1990 and adopted by many WHO member states in 1994. Today, the United States is the only industrialized nation still using ICD-9, the more-than-30-year-old classification.


The alpha draft of ICD-11 already can be seen on the WHO Web site. For the first time, WHO is using a collaborative, Web 2.0 approach for a major revision, so changes are made in the draft version daily. The beta version is expected to be available in May 2012, and the final version to be presented to the World Health Assembly in May 2015.

Editor’s note: An article in a recent issue of eConsult may have been misleading about the deadline for ICD-10 conversion. It is October 1, 2013, 2 years away.

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