ICD-11 Training

Learning to use the ICD-11 will help clinicians to base their practice on the most advanced understanding to date of mental disorders.

Geoffrey M. Reed

Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, World Health Organization

An Interview with Geoffrey Reed about ICD-11 Training on GCP.Network

1. How do you see the learning platform on the GCP.Network as a way to enhance implementation of the ICD-11 Guidelines?

The training modules on this section of the website are based on what we are learning from the field studies in terms of how best to help clinicians fully understand and apply the ICD-11 guidelines. One of the things we’ve noticed through the ICD-11 field studies is that when there are big changes in the guidelines, GCP.Network members tend to notice and apply them, but more subtle changes are more likely to be missed. The training modules describe major changes to the guidelines. For example, the module on Schizophrenia and Other Primary Psychotic Disorders describes how the ICD-11 Guidelines have changed. We no longer use the subtypes of schizophrenia (i.e., paranoid, disorganized, catatonic) and instead ICD-11 uses a system of symptom qualifiers to describe the nature of the presenting symptoms (positive symptoms, negative, depressive, manic, psychomotor and cognitive). The training modules will clarify nuanced aspects of the new guidelines and the way they are interpreted. For example, a module will discuss how to distinguish obsessions in OCD from rumination as a part of depression when making a diagnosis. One of the benefits of being a GCP.Network member is that network members will have first access to these training programs and be able to provide feedback on the structure and function of the modules, thereby participating in the development and refinement of the trainings. In this way, GCP.Network members can become equipped to be resources in their own workplaces and countries for training related to ICD-11, enhancing the implementation around the world.

2. Why is it important for clinicians around the world to understand and apply the new ICD-11 Guidelines?

The International Classification of Diseases is the WHO standard for the collection and reporting of health information by WHO’s 194 Member States, which allows for comparison of health data worldwide. Many countries will also eventually adopt the ICD-11 as the required reporting format for diagnosis and payment for services.

Even if a country does not adopt the ICD-11 as a clinical reporting standard immediately, learning to use the ICD-11 will help clinicians to base their practice on the most advanced understanding to date of mental disorders. The ICD-10 was developed in the 1980s and reflects the state of knowledge at that time. Over the past thirty years, many discoveries from clinical, basic, and epidemiological research have changed how people think about mental and behavioural disorders. This knowledge was taken into consideration in the development of the ICD-11 and will support clinicians in delivering the best possible care.

3. How will the materials that will be in this section help clinicians use the new guidelines?

The training modules are meant to be brief and practical. The modules will discuss the guiding theory and rationale behind the changes in the classification and the diagnostic guidelines. For example, a module will describe what led to obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder to be grouped together in the ICD-11, when there was no grouping of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders in the ICD-10. The modules will describe the main changes and more subtle aspects of the new guidelines. GCP.Network members will also have an opportunity to practice applying the new guidelines to standardized case material to assess their own comprehension of the new guidelines.

4. How will clinicians and patients benefit when the new ICD-11 Guidelines are optimally applied in clinical practice?

People are only likely to have access to the most appropriate mental health services when the conditions that define eligibility and treatment selection are supported by a precise, valid, and clinically useful classification system.

Clinical utility was a fundamental consideration in the development of the ICD-11 Guidelines. Scientific evidence on course of disease and response to psychological and pharmacological treatments was also considered in the development of the guidelines.

A classification system based on the latest scientific evidence with global clinical input and consensus will help clinicians to identify the people who need mental health treatment and make better decisions about their management.

5. What’s the best way for clinicians to engage with this training section on the new ICD-11 Guidelines?

We encourage GCP.Network members to return periodically to this training portal. As we make the trainings available, we will also notify GCP.Network members via email.

Once you understand and apply the new guidelines, we encourage you to share with us how the guidelines align with what you see in your practice by commenting on the guidelines. In this way, GCP.Network members participate in the development and implementation of the ICD-11.