Spring symposium of the German HIM national association: DVMD e.V.1

On March 2, 2018 in Duisburg, Germany, DVMD held its biennial one-day symposiums on most important current topics in the Health Information Management sector.

Around 110 attendees (HIM personal, researchers, educators and interested persons) mainly from Germany gathered for the symposium.  Renowned speakers talked about latest news in the field of medical classification and health statistics.

Why medical classifications? Consistent coding of diagnoses and procedures in health care is not only of essential significance for accounting in the inpatient sector. Coding is also the basis for general health statistics and important for epidemiological evaluations. Reliable, comparative analyses require standardized terminology – international classification systems, nomenclatures, ontologies, taxonomies and terminologies.


There are three World Health Organization (WHO) reference classifications:

  • ICD (International Classification of Diseases)
  • ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health)
  • ICHI (International Classification of Health Interventions).


ICHI refers to coding of operations and procedures. To date, there does not exist an international recognized classification system for this field. There are, however, national solutions, particularly in industrialized countries.


The plan is to have ICHI established as a coding system to be used worldwide for coding operations and procedures. ICHI has intentionally been kept “light”, so that those countries, that do not yet use classification systems can easily implement it in their country. ICHI is being developed to provide a common tool for reporting and analyzing health interventions for statistical purposes. Moreover, ICHI contains a core structure and extension codes which can also be used for accounting purposes. A Beta-version will be released very soon followed by a review and finally, a voting process with WHO. It is planned that ICHI should be published by 2020.


Another focus of the DVMD spring symposium was ICD, the international classification system for diagnosis coding. ICD is the core internationally recognized instrument for coding diseases. ICD provides important information for prevention human diseases, patient treatment and research. In his presentation, Dr. Robert Jakob from WHO headquarter in Geneva, pointed out that about 150 countries worldwide use ICD-Classifications systematically. More and more countries are in the process to establish the ICD system.


Currently the ICD is undergoing its 11th revision. It is planned that at the World Health Assembly in 2019 that will take place in Geneva when ICD-11 should be introduced in its final version.


Translation, implementation and use of ICD-11 in the different countries around the world is considerable and will take some time. Utilization targets and the interpretation of health statistics, as well as their optimization potential, are issues for other experts.


Our spring symposium culminated after a rich exchange of information about the important tools and emerging trends in the field of HIM. As DVMD President, Annett Mueller summed up, “Classification systems are important tools for the indexing of health information and for investigating specific areas of health. ICD, ICHI or ICF is essential to making non-standardized data available for analysis purposes and health statistics. The DVMD conferences impart knowledge, specialist information on current topics, as well as competences for the changes and challenges that await us.”


Angelika Haendel, M.A.

IFHIMA Immediate Past President


1DVMD – The German Association for Professionals in the Field of Medical Documentation (Health Information Management, HIM)