New Code Set on the Horizon? – An Update on ICD-11

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

IMO is monitoring progression of ICD-11 to ensure customers remain up to date on the latest ICD code changes as the World Health Organization advances the adoption of ICD-11. 

June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P
Director, Terminology Mapping, IMO

New Year, New Code Set?

Even though the United States implemented ICD-10-CM in October 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released ICD-10 in 1990.  In 2000 the World Health Assembly decided to update the ICD system to reflect medical advancements and integrate with changes in technology.  This version is known as ICD-11.  

ICD-11 is being presented to the 72nd World Health General Assembly in May 2019 for endorsement.  If endorsed, Member States may begin reporting ICD-11 codes on January 1, 2022.  WHO released an ICD-11 version on June 18, 2018 for Member States to begin their implementation preparations as WHO recognizes the work effort to implement ICD-11 is a process requiring education and training.


In order to achieve WHO’s goals for ICD-11, the revision process defined ICD categories in a systematic way and represented the classification knowledge in a manner to allow computer system processing.  This work established the ICD-11 content model which is the foundation for all ICD-11 linearizations.  A linearization is a listing of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive way to list the ICD categories for a specific purpose. 

The ICD-11 Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (MMS) linearization is a common subset created from the foundational content model.  It is purpose built to classify mortality and morbidity across the globe.  This linearization reflects the current chapter structure of the ICD-10 system and corresponds to the classic tabular list while incorporating changes and updates for ICD-11.  For example, pneumonia unspecified is classified as a respiratory disease, while pneumonia due to influenza is classified as an infectious or parasitic disease in the ICD-11-MMS.  Another ICD-11 linearization may place pneumonia due to influenza in the respiratory disease categorization based upon the purpose of the linearization.   In a single linearization, pneumonia due to influenza will be placed in only one category.

New Content and Key Features:

A new chapter for traditional medicine is officially part of ICD-11, along with a new chapter on sexual health.  The new sexual health chapter brings together conditions previously classified in other ways or ICD chapters such as the mental health chapter.  Gaming disorder is officially classified with addictive disorders in ICD-11. 

ICD-11 contains stem and extension codes.  ICD-11 supports pre-coordination and post-coordination.  Future blogs will explore these key features in greater detail.  Pre-coordinated ICD-11 codes have the same look and feel as current ICD-10 codes.  Post-coordinated ICD-11 codes support the flexibility and longevity of the system.

IMO is monitoring progression of ICD-11 to ensure customers remain up to date on the latest ICD code changes as the World Health Organization advances the adoption of ICD-11.  IMO is committed to supporting its customers’ transition to ICD-11 whenever the timing is appropriate for their needs, just as we smoothly supported the United States transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM.