WHO ICD-11 includes diagnoses used in Traditional Medicine

The 11th revision of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) includes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the first time, and will come into effect on January 1, 2022.

The WHO first announced the news last June, noting “the inclusion for the first time of traditional medicine is a way of recording epidemiological data about disorders described in ancient Chinese medicine, commonly used in China, Japan, Korea, and other parts of the world.”

ICD is a standardized system of alphanumeric codes for diagnoses used in medical billing and coding throughout the world, as well as for epidemiology, research, and cataloguing causes of death, according to the WHO.

Although millions of people use traditional medicine worldwide, it has never been classified in this system. The latest revision incorporates TCM diagnoses components, such as qi deficiency, damp heat, and liver qi stagnation. A full list of diagnoses and codes can be found here.

WHO says incorporating is not a judgement on the validity of a condition or the efficacy of treatment, but is an important aspect of mapping how humans live and the types of healthcare they receive.

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