“It is written on the wall, and we can't take it back that ICD-11 is coming,” Ustun said. Work on ICD-11 is already under way in what Ustun described is a far more open and transparent development process than that used to develop ICD-10. Individuals can make comments or suggest improvements. A release of ICD-11 should be ready in 2015.
More than a few AHIMA members groaned at the thought. The U.S. healthcare industry is not quite two years away from a federally imposed compliance deadline to upgrade to ICD-10, which many IT experts are likening to the biggest single task in healthcare IT history. Even Ustun predicted, “there will be suffering” with the ICD-10 conversion.
But, he asked, “What can be made out of that suffering?”
Ustun said ICD-9, which is still in current use in the U.S., was released by the WHO in 1975 and not adopted by the U.S. in 1979, what he called an “acceptable” delay of four years. But ICD-10 was completed in 1990, so if the U.S. transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 goes off on schedule in 2013, the delay will be 23 years. Hopefully, with the use of information technology from the start of its development, the transition to ICD-11 and subsequent upgrades could be much smoother, he said.
“I would like you as the AHIMA community to look at this and help us,” he said. “This is the punch line. Let's not call it ICD-11, let us call it ICD-2015. If it will make you swallow that pill, I would be happy to sugar coat the practice.”