As the United States prepares for the transition to ICD-10 on October 1, 2015, the rest of the world—most of which boarded the ICD-10 coding train long ago—is turning its focus to ICD-11. With implementation set for 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) is hard at work refining and improving the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding set “to better reflect progress in health sciences and medical practice.”

So, what does that all that mean? Here’s the deal.

What to Expect

The latest ICD update will be:

  • Available in multiple languages.
  • Defined in a structured way, so medical professionals can more accurately record definitions, signs and symptoms, and other disease-related content.
  • Compatible with electronic health applications and information systems.
  • Free to download online for personal use (and available in print form for a fee).

Get Involved

Want to take part in the revision process? You’re in luck. To “increase consistency, comparability and utility of the classification,” the WHO has invited experts and stakeholders—including researchers, health information managers, and healthcare providers—to participate in the review. You can become an appointed reviewer, or you can create an account on the ICD-11 online platform, which will allow you to:

  • Comment on classification structure, content, and implementation
  • Propose changes to ICD categories or disease definitions
  • Participate in field testing
  • Contribute to language translations

Keep in mind that all feedback will be peer-reviewed for accuracy and relevance by experts from the WHO’s two advisory bodies: Revision Steering Groups and Topic Advisory Groups.

While the US might not be ready for ICD-11—I mean, we’re still bracing for ol’ 10—it’s in our best interest to participate in—and keep one eye on—the revision process. It’ll undoubtedly help us when it comes time to transition again.