ICD is the foundation for the identification of health trends and statistics globally, and the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions. It is the diagnostic classification standard for all clinical and research purposes. ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion that allows for:
- easy storage, retrieval and analysis of health information for evidenced-based decision-making;
- sharing and comparing health information between hospitals, regions, settings and countries; and
- data comparisons in the same location across different time periods.
Uses include monitoring of the incidence and prevalence of diseases, observing reimbursements and resource allocation trends, and keeping track of safety and quality guidelines. They also include the counting of deaths as well as diseases, injuries, symptoms, reasons for encounter, factors that influence health status, and external causes of disease.
Classification contributes to the advancement of science and the branches of technology from the level of the empirical accumulation of knowledge to the level of theoretical synthesis and the systems approach. Such a transition is possible only with a theoretical analysis of the multiplicity of facts. The practical need for classification encourages the development of the theoretical aspects of science or technology, while the creation of a classificatory system represents a qualitative leap in the development of knowledge. Classification based upon profound scientific principles not only represents a full picture of the state of the science (or technology) or one of its aspects but also makes it possible to draw up valid predictions of still unknown facts or laws. An example is the prediction of properties of still undiscovered elements by the Mendeleev system.