The establishment of a Pacific Centre on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) 11 Field Implementation Tool (FIT) platform was the highlight of a 2-week training on the International Statistical Classification of Disease that concluded last week in Nadi, Fiji.
ICD mortality codes are used to produce standardised cause-of-death data for health planning, monitoring and evaluation at national and regional/international levels. Mortality statistics on causes of death are one of the principal data sources for assessing a population’s health and guiding public priorities.
To better transition Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) towards ICD 11, the Pacific Centre will be set up within the ICD Field Implementation Tool (ICD-FIT) and will also allow the region to access further training activities in ICD-11 while providing more hands-on experience on ICD-11 coding.
This training was facilitated by the Pacific Community (SPC), World Health Organisation (WHO) Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems with support from Vital Strategies and Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health initiative. The 10-day training was attended by 16 participants from Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Lead facilitator Nandalal Wijesekera said, “It would be great to have a ‘Pacific Centre’ in the ICD-FIT platform for coders working in this region to further improve their skills in ICD-11.”
Coders play a key role in ensuring high-quality cause-of-death data for decision-making and must have the necessary skills and knowledge to interpret the medical information reported by doctors and then apply advanced coding rules to determine an individual's underlying cause of death. High-quality coding of death certificates is an essential part of generating reliable and accurate mortality statistics.
Participants from the training shared how this centre will strengthen and build capacity in the region:
Mailita Ailesi, Health Statistics Officer from Tuvalu said, “As a new learner, I think it is a good initiative for the region.”
Ruta Ulugia, Senior Medical Records Officer from Samoa said: "having a Pacific centre set up for the WHO ICT FIT tool is welcomed".
Karen Ngamata, Manager for the Health Intelligence Unit, Cook Islands explained, “I think this tool is great and just so well done and would be a good use for the Pacific”.
Jeff Montgomery Statistics Adviser for SPC’s Statistics for Development Division (SDD) said, “this training is targeted at professionals in the Pacific region that are responsible for coding causes of death, and it is is focused on building their knowledge and capacity in the application of ICD coding rules and relevant coding tools that use internationally agreed standards. We aim to expand the pool of currently trained ICD mortality coders and to provide peer support with coding in the region.”
This initiative is part of ongoing efforts by SPC with Brisbane Accord Group partners to work with country stakeholders to improve national civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems, including the availability, quality, analysis, timeliness, and use of vital statistics data to inform evidence-based decision making.
All medical coders in the Pacific can request to join the Pacific Centre and use the ICD-FIT platform https://icd.who.int/icdfit/login.php
The coordinator of the Centre will review each application and approve all requests.
The ICD-FIT tool allows medical coders to:
- solve ICD-11 coding exercises and receive feedback
- check how well they are coding with ICD11
- Scott Pontifex| Statistical advisor| scottp [at] spc.int
- Jeff Montgomery| CRVS Adviser| jeffm [at] spc.int">jeffm [at] spc.int
- Rumanusina Maua - Maualaivao| Health Information Systems Adviser | rumanusinam [at] spc.int