The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management, research, and clinical purposes, as well as the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. The ICD allows for:

  • Recording individual health conditions at the desired level of detail. This is why it is used in many health systems to diagnose conditions and determine which treatment is received
  • Generating healthcare statistics and reimbursement information
  • Sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings, and countries
  • Comparing data in the same country across different time periods.

The ICD is updated at regular intervals to reflect the current state of health knowledge. Experts, international societies for the medical areas and professions, patients, and their organizations are brought together by the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise the ICD. On 25 May 2019, the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the ICD-11, and this latest revision which came into effect on 1 January 2022. The ICD-11 is the first classification system to include a systematic representation of chronic pain, and is publicly available via the WHO website.

To learn more, please see the following materials:

In addition, in November 2022, SIP organised a multi-stakeholder event on ICD-11, where experts in the field, as well as World Health Organization (WHO) representatives discussed the impact and relevance of ICD-11 for the pain community. Please find below the Event Report and the Event Summary and Recommendations:

SIP ICD-11 Position Paper

SIP calls upon EU and national policy makers to:

  1. Ensure effective implementation of ICD-11, as its use allows international agreement on the use of standardised diagnosis and tools. This will contribute to the development and digitalisation of healthcare services, which are complementary and can support each other, and will ensure patients’ needs and rights are rightly covered.
  2. Ensure the semantic layer of health data is appropriately taken into consideration in ICD-11 and Health Information Systems implementation.
  3. Recognise the burden and impact of pain on societies and patients, and increase its priority within healthcare systems, funding, and policymaking.
  4. Pain as a quality indicator: Develop instruments to assess the impact of pain.
  5. Pain research: Increase investment in research on the societal impact of pain.
  6. Pain in employment: Initiate policies addressing the impact of pain on employment and work productivity and include pain in relevant existing initiatives.
  7. Pain education: Prioritise pain education for healthcare professionals, patients, policymakers, and the general public.

Download the full SIP Position Paper here.

SIP ICD-11 Leaflet

Download the full SIP ICD-11 Leaflet here.

Informative Video