ICD-11 Is Coming - Start Preparations Now

The ICD-10 frenzy came and went. Armageddon type preparations were made for the major overhaul ICD-10 brought about. Employers hired extra coding staff in preparation of possible delays while coders adjusted to the higher levels of specificity. Now ICD-11 is coming and preparations have begun. Let’s look at what ICD-11 will bring and how you can be part of the upcoming changes.


ICD-11 has been in the works since 2007, even before the implementation of ICD-10. In June of 2018, ICD-11 version was released to Member States. By May of 2019 ICD-11 will be presented to the WHO for endorsement by Member States. By January, 2022 all reporting will be conducted using ICD-11.

With change comes adaptations for a seasoned coder:

  • The new code sets for I-11 will no longer have “I” codes for cardiology or “O” codes for obstetrics

  • ICD-11 will also include alpha characters for the second character and the first will be either alpha or numeric (I-10 the first character is always alpha)

  • Code formatting will now have four characters before the decimal and up to three characters after

  • Additional codes for specificity, laterality and anatomy will be added to assist in describing associated conditions or manifestations

  • More chapters are coming:

    • One set of codes to be added will include the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (GLASS)

    • Meanings for hypertension will change

    • “Code also” instructions will receive noted changes

    • More casual relationships between conditions will be associated with such terms as ‘due to’ in their code title

    • Concurrence of two conditions will have new code titles with terms such as ‘associated with’

    • A new concept of cluster coding will be introduced marking codes that are post-coordinated for describing one condition

Big changes are coming, and as usual, so comes the anxiety; decreased by preparing in advance. Many resources are available online allowing you to view changes proposed so far.

Visit the ICD-11 site now and familiarize yourself with what’s to come.

Trisha Clark

Tricia Clark, RHIA



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