Providers of healthcare, policy makers, funders and researchers need to have information about the epidemiology of their communities, and they need to understand what is happening within primary care to improve health services. More and more the influential political bodies in the world as OECD, UN, and local governments are showing interest in well-being/functioning of the population. To use only diagnoses to describe the health of the population became too limited especially in a world where people are getting older with an increase in morbidity and functioning problems with age. Too often and for too long it seems that we have overvalued highly specialized care rather than focusing more on what people want to receive in care and how their health situation is presented, i.e. what the reason for encounter is. For Primary Health Care providers to effectively record information about this as part of routine clinical practice, easy to use classification tools are necessary.
The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) is the most widely used international classification for systematically capturing and organising clinical information in primary care. It is developed and revised by the ICPC-3 Consortium and the World Organization of Family Doctors’ (WONCA) International Classification Committee (WICC).
A new version ICPC-3 has been adopted by WONCA in December 2020. The new ICPC-3 meets the need to record the reason for encounter, functioning (activities and participation) and personal preferences linked to morbidity. The ICPC-3 includes all those classes / concepts in primary care that can lead to better decisions by the providers and policy makers. It includes the new approach to health, person-centeredness, providing a medical language that is used in daily practice, instead of a medical language that has been developed for morbidity and mortality statistical purposes only.