The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is used to categorise diseases, injuries and external causes, and is a key epidemiological tool enabling the storage and retrieval of data from health and vital records to produce core international mortality and morbidity statistics. The ICD is updated periodically to ensure the classification remains current and work is now underway to develop the next revision, ICD-11. There have been almost 20 years since the last ICD edition was published and over 60 years since the last substantial structural revision of the external causes chapter. Revision of such a critical tool requires transparency and documentation to ensure that changes made to the classification system are recorded comprehensively for future reference. In this paper, the authors provide a history of external causes classification development and outline the external cause structure. Approaches to manage ICD-10 deficiencies are discussed and the ICD-11 revision approach regarding the development of, rationale for and implications of proposed changes to the chapter are outlined. Through improved capture of external cause concepts in ICD-11, a stronger evidence base will be available to inform injury prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and policy initiatives to ultimately contribute to a reduction in injury morbidity and mortality
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