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What is ICD-10? How does it help?

International Classification of Diseases

What is ICD-10? WHO created ‘International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems’ (ICD), a medical classification list of codes to help develop a universal code for doctors and insurance companies worldwide.

This list, particularly, contains codes for diseases and causes of injuries and deaths. Additionally, these universal codes help doctors, and insurance companies keep a record of patients.


WHO developed ICD from the first Medical Coding System in 1940. It was called ‘Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death.’ Surely, it expanded the system and added statistics on death and injuries. The system helps identify problems within a country. For example, poverty, and education.

This classification system has proven to be the best. In fact, many countries worldwide have adopted it. To begin with, WHO publishes the base version of the revision of ICD. The countries adopting it make changes accordingly.


WHO started working on ICD-10 in 1983. It is the tenth revision of ICD and the updated version of ICD-9. WHO endorsed it in 1990 at the 43rd World Health Assembly. Member states implemented it four years later.


The United States utilizes its national variant of ICD-10 called the ICD-10 Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM). The transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 became complicated in the United States. ICD-10 had been in use for more than two decades globally, but the US was using an older version of the system, the ICD-9-CM. 

According to Nalin Jain, Delivery Director of Advisory Services for CTG Health Solutions, the transition was ‘a monumental change’ for its coding industry. The United States relied on its financial health and medical billing. That made it a complicated move. 


The transition got delayed multiple times to avoid difficulties in the future. The first time, 1st October 2011, was the transition deadline. The industry had enough time to complete the necessary implementations. Due to a delay from stakeholders, it got pushed to 1st October 2013, further to 1st October 2014, and finally, in 2015, they made the transition.

The American Medical Association (AMA) provided a list of resources/guides. The healthcare industry could use these to help practice for the transition. Some of the guidelines included project plan templates, sample medical cases, tips, and resources from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

The US became one of the last of all developed countries to adopt ICD-10. Hence, it had better chances of learning from other countries’ mistakes as these countries had adopted ICD-10 many years before. 


Medical coders use ICD codes to assign appropriate diagnoses. At MedConverge India, our AAPC and AHIMA certified medical coders are up-to-date with the latest industry changes. We also provide specialized medical services, including Nephrology, Radiology, Cardiology, Orthopedics, and Pediatrics.

MedConverge India also offers medical coding training programs that focus on ICD-10 training. 

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