Historical development of the statistical classification of causes of death and diseases

Musaed Alharabi, Godfrey Isouard, Barry Tolchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper offers an historical overview of international mortality/healthcare classification systems, covering developments from the International List of Causes of Death (ILCD) through to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The ICD is a global data system established to classify diseases and mortality causes. The past few decades have seen a dramatic increase in use of the ICD, paralleling its improved efficiency and integration into the health information management (HIM) arena. The ICD, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1984, is the successor to ICLD-5 and assigns codes to every health diagnosis. The 10th revision of the WHO International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10-CM) is the latest version, and the 11th is currently under development. A clinical classification and coding schedule is essential for improving and refining clinical data systems in numerous ways, including treatment selection, cause-of-death reporting, eligibility selection, the facilitation of health insurance claims, data storage, health service evaluation, health policy, the management of epidemiological diseases, resource allocation and the reduction of potential costs. All these contribute to proper development and planning within healthcare services. ICD has become the universal standard.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1893422
Number of pages10
JournalCogent Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date2 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021


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