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ICD-11 contains nearly 4x as many codes as ICD-10: Here's what WHO has to say

The World Health Organization's fully-electronic 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases contains 55,000 codes, compared to the 14,400 in ICD-10, Medscape reports.

Thirty-one countries played a role in field testing ICD-11.

Here are five takeaways and quotes from WHO's press briefing announcing the launch:

1. ICD-11 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

"We are working with all WHO offices on a global implementation plan and have prepared an implementation package to help with transition from the old system to the new system," said WHO Classifications, Terminologies and Standards Team Lead Robert Jakob, MD.

2. Gender incongruence was moved from the mental health chapter to a new sexual health chapter.

"Keeping it in the mental health chapter was potentially causing stigma, so we needed to destigmatize it," said WHO Reproductive Health and Research Department Coordinator Lale Say, MD.

3. Gaming disorder was added to the addictive disorders section.

"Everybody who engages in gaming does not have a disorder. In fact, it's only a small minority of people who engage in gaming who may have a gaming disorder, but countries and professionals need to be aware and look out for this and provide prevention and treatment," said WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Director Shekhar Saxena, MD.

4. Sections on cardiology, allergies and immune system disorders, infectious diseases, cancer, dementia and diabetes were extensively updated.

"Antimicrobial resistance patterns can now be documented properly, which will help support research and produce new antibiotics," Dr. Jakob said.

5. ICD-11 can better capture data regarding safety in healthcare.

"With ICD-11, patient safety events can be recorded better than ever before and prevented. This is a topic of extreme relevance that has not been possible to document properly with the old ICD. With the new ICD-11, we have a complete system to document events or near misses," Dr. Jakob said.

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