Codifying Disease in WHIMS

In 2000, India adopted the World Health Organization’s system for classifying illness and disease: ICD-10, or International Classification of Diseases. This structured disease code book identifies disease categories by a letter-number scheme, which is unique for each type of disease or illness. Within India specifically, use of ICD-10 is mandatory for all health systems.

The intention of using ICD-10 codes in healthcare systems is to increase specificity and accuracy of information taken down in health records… particularly if the health system is adopting an EHR platform.

Extensive literature emphasizes the importance of the ICD-10 scheme in health data collection, largely as a way to standardize disease epidemiology across multiple health organizations and quantify effectiveness of health programs. However, training of health personnel in using these codes must be consistent and comprehensive, which is extremely complicated and time-consuming.

For iKure in particular, the organization is expected to integrate ICD-10 codes into their electronic health forms and website (WHIMS). As of now, staff members are working with doctors to understand these codes and easily identify them on the patient forms. Unfortunately, with over 68,000 disease codes and changing disease typologies, it has been difficult getting all health personnel at the same level of knowledge on the proper disease notation to better diagnose patients.

Below are some pictures showing how searching for a disease in ICD-10 would work as a mobile application. iKure’s intent is to have health personnel in urban and rural clinics use this application as a quick reference while they enter patient information in the mobile WHIMS database. Users can type in the disease or illness of interest (or the ICD-10 code, if it is known) and check to make sure patients’ symptoms align with that condition. The unique ICD-10 codes would then be typed into the electronic patient forms for doctors to examine and double-check for errors.

Although our team will not be able to integrate all of these codes completely with WHIMS, having a navigable ICD-10 code book  available to iKure’s health workers should certainly speed up data entry in the clinics, and improve accuracy of health information entered into WHIMS for patient diagnoses.

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