Detailed below are some of our frequently asked questions.

How do I find out what’s happening with ICD-11?

Our ICD-11 pages on the AIHW website provide an important source of information about ICD-11. You can also access information directly from the ICD-11 web pages of the World Health Organization website.

AIHW provides biannual updates in our ICD-11 Newsletter, which you can subscribe to here and the Australian Collaborating Centre will be conducting information sharing sessions, details of which will be publicised in the 'Upcoming ICD-11 events' section.

Has the decision been made for Australia to adopt ICD-11?

The commitment to adopt ICD-11 in Australia was established during the 2019 WHO World Health Assembly meeting. As the Australian Collaborating Centre for the World Health Organisation Family of International Classifications, the AIHW is actively collaborating with various entities, including the jurisdictions, the ABS, IHACPA, and the ADHA, to develop a roadmap to a decision as to how and where ICD-11 will be implemented. This roadmap will play a crucial role in shaping the decision regarding the implementation timeline, which is currently estimated to be in 2031.

What are the benefits of ICD-11?

ICD-11 reflects contemporary clinical research and practice, benefiting from the contributions of tens of thousands of clinicians across more than 160 countries. It is also tailored to meet the requirements of today's digitally advanced healthcare systems, enhancing efficiency, precision, comprehensiveness, and compatibility with other information standards. Additionally post-coordination will allow users to link core diagnostic concepts (i.e., stem code concepts), and add additional detail captured in extension codes to stem code concepts.

I have heard that ICD-11 will be entirely digital, how will this impact current clinical coding processes, i.e. In my current setup, I have my encoder on one monitor, the EMR on the second monitor, and physical books for reference?

ICD-11 is designed to be a completely digital system. To use it effectively, clinical coders and other users will need the necessary technology, such as reliable access to internet, computers and screens. There are multiple options for local implementation of ICD-11, including integration with EMR/PAS and code software systems. the Australian Collaborating Centre anticipate that system suppliers will collaborate with their customers about how they will transition.

When do Clinical Coders need to start 'paying attention' to ICD-11 implementation, i.e. when should they begin reading information and trying to learn as much as they can about it?

It would be advantageous for all coders to begin acquainting themselves with ICD-11 as soon as possible. AIHW are structuring our ICD-11 pages on the AIHW webpage with a user-centric approach to facilitate information retrieval. Furthermore, we're exploring tools provided by the World Health Organization, such as ICD-FiT and the ICD-11 ETool, which offers coders a chance to practice assigning ICD-11 codes to diagnoses and receive instant feedback on their coding. The WHO is also developing further education via the WHO Academy. Our intention is to consistently update the content on the AIHW pages and link to new resources. However, if you believe we've overlooked something, please don't hesitate to contact us with your feedback, and the Australian Collaborating Centre will strive to assist in any way we can.

Which government agency will be leading on the ICD-11 work in Australia?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare serves as the Australian Collaborating Centre within the World Health Organization Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) and will fulfill the primary function of engaging with Australia's key organisational stakeholders including jurisdictions, fostering collaboration and coordination when required in the implementation of ICD-11 across the country.

What will happen to the current Australian Coding Standards and National Coding Advice?

The Australian Coding Standards and National Coding Rules will need to be reviewed as to how ICD-11 manages those conditions. Some standards or rules may be retired and some amended, but this is yet to be determined.

We anticipate that there may be Australian specific coding standards over and above the ICD-11 Coding Rules.

How frequently will ICD-11 be updated?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has supplied a valuable ICD-11 Reference Guide, and within it, Annex A outlines ICD-11 Updating and Maintenance, including the update cycle.

In brief:

  1. Official releases of the ICD-11 MMS (Mortality and Morbidity Statistics) Tabular List will occur annually. These releases will not impact the structure at four or five character levels.
  2. Releases that do affect the core structure (i.e. new or retired codes) will be issued on a five-year cycle to ensure data stability.
  3. Updates to coding rules related to mortality and morbidity will follow a ten-year cycle.

The WHO anticipates and encourages member countries that have implemented ICD-11 to adopt the annual updates. The Australian Collaborating Centre will collaborate with stakeholders to determine whether to transition to annual updates or maintain our current three-year update cycle after we implement.

How is ICD-11 going to work with our current hospital systems and in particular PAS/EMR? What do we/our system suppliers need to do?

The Australian Collaborating Centre will establish communication with system suppliers to ensure they are well-informed about ICD-11, including access to technical support via the World Health Organization (WHO) provided API and embedded tools. We anticipate that suppliers will collaborate with their clients to determine the most effective technical strategy for integrating ICD-11 into their PAS/EMR/encoder systems. The WHO has supplied substantial technical resources and implementation guidance for assistance, and the Australian Collaborating Centre will partner with suppliers to identify any extra support needed within the context of the Australian Healthcare system.

With ICD-10-AM an experienced coder can memorise codes for common diagnoses, but in ICD-11 the codes are more complex and difficult to remember, will this impact productivity.

To ensure accurate code assignments, coders should not depend on memorising codes. With ICD-11's complete digitalisation and the integration of the coding tool and browser, there won't be a need for coders to manually search through physical code books. The coding tool is a digital Alphabetic Index and the browser is a digital Tabular List. the Australian Collaborating Centre anticipate that as coders become acquainted with ICD-11, this will lead to enhanced coding precision and speed.

I want our department to take part in ICD-11's rollout to stay informed and avoid sudden surprises. How can we participate?

We're happy to welcome support from individuals and groups. Some examples of how you can participate are by reviewing our materials and plans via your AITF representative, attending interactive events, or applying to be a pilot implementation site.

What will be the effect of ICD-11 on reporting of health data?

ICD-11 will enhance reporting by enabling high-quality, statistically sound, and up-to-date clinical research and practice reflection. The Australian Collaborating Centre will collaborate with system suppliers, dataset developers, and analysts to facilitate the integration of ICD-11 into reporting systems and procedures. We will also offer reporting professionals the necessary guidance to leverage the benefits of ICD-11.

ICD-11 resources