The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes. This includes the analysis of the general health situation of population groups. It is used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems. ICD-10 is most detailed and specific version of ICD, which includes more complex set of roles than ICD-9. However, many of the older databases contain ICD-9. I personally witnessed few family physicians using them as a way to track the demographics of their patient, in addition to using Electronic Medical Records. CIHI is the Canadian Institute for Health Information and maintains the knowledge base for ICD-10-CA and CCI (Canadian Classification of Health Interventions). The data collected is from Inpatient (Going to Discharge Abstracting Database) and ER, Day surgery patients (National Ambulatory Care Reporting System). The following picture is a snapshot from Folio 2012, a CIHI product for searching diagnoses.

You can find more about ICD on the World Health Organization’s website Here. Also there are online based search engines that looks up the codes for you Here, but they are not the Canadian version. The Canadian version is used by Health Information Management Professionals, which is Called the Folio and it is a CIHI’s product and can be purchased there. In addition to coding using the ICD-10 search engine, the data collection needs to follow the Canadian Coding Standards most current version otherwise the data collected would be no good for reporting and analysis purposes. Using this method we are trying to collect the cleanest data possible. CIHI has provided free pdf that contain both the Tabular list 2018 and the Alphabetical Index 2018 where you can search your terms in the Alphabetical Index to find the disease codes in the Tabular List.


ICD version 9 was adopted by Canada in 1979; however, according to CIHI, during the time before 2001, there were a mixture of coding standards that used to code diagnoses and intervention nationally. This made CIHI to come up with an standardize ICD system for Canada and that’s when they moved to ICD-10-CA/CCI in April 1st, 2001. However, United States stayed with ICD-9-CM until recently (2013) (Source: CIHI). ICD-9 is still being used by physician offices and it is the bases for MSP compensation claims. ICD-9 is less specific and much easier to master than ICD-10. BC’s Medical Service Plan (MSP) maintains a webpage that contains the ICD-9 codes for physicians’ use. The following link provides online based ICD-9 Code finders: http://www.instacode.com/code-search

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