Classifications and terminologies research nonde at the University of Sydney

Health classifications and terminologies

The building blocks for health information
Health classifications provide an internationally consistent method of describing health conditions, functioning and disability, and health interventions. Classifications are essential building blocks to inform health planning, policy and research, and thus to improve health care services.

The classification node at the University of Sydney includes international leaders in health classification systems and their applications. Our areas of classification expertise include:

  • Diseases and other health conditions
  • Health interventions
  • Activity-based funding/casemix
  • Functioning and disability
  • Primary care
  • CAPS – Coding Atlas for Pharmaceutical Substances


ICPC-2 PLUS (also known as the BEACH coding system) is a clinical terminology classified to the International Classification of Primary Care, Version 2 (ICPC-2).

ICPC-2 PLUS is a user-friendly coding system, allowing health professionals to record symptoms, diagnoses (problem labels), past health problems and processes (such as procedures, counselling and referrals) at the point of care.

ICPC-2 PLUS can be used in age-sex disease registers, morbidity registers and full electronic health records in primary care. It currently contains approximately 8,000 terms that are commonly used in Australian general practice.

To learn more about ICPC-2 PLUS for end users or developers, please visit the ICPC-2 PLUS web page.

The classification node is an active participant in the World Health Organization Family of International Classifications (WHO-FIC) Network through the Australian Collaborating Centre and has been involved in the development of ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics (ICD-11 MMS) and the International Classification of Health Interventions (ICHI).

The ICD-11 has been approved by the World Health Assembly at the end of May 2019. For further information about ICD-11 progress, please visit the WHO website.

ICHI is the World Health Organization’s new classification for reporting and analysing health interventions.

ICHI is the companion classification to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

The classification provides Member States, service providers, managers, and researchers with a common tool for reporting and analysing health interventions for statistical, quality and reimbursement purposes.

Access ICHI on the WHO Maintenance Platform here.

Access the ICHI Working Draft Coding Tool here

Download the ICHI brochure (pdf, 475.5kb).

Read the publication Compendium of WHO and other UN guidance on health and environment released with International Classification of Health Intervention (‎ICHI)‎ codes here.

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is a framework and classification for describing and organising information on functioning and disability.

It was approved for use by the World Health Assembly in 2001, after extensive testing across the world involving people with disabilities and people from a range of relevant disciplines.

The ICF integrates the major models of disability, recognising the role of environmental factors, the importance of participation as well as the relevance of associated health conditions.

The ICF has been accepted as one of the UN social classifications and provides an appropriate instrument for the implementation of stated international human rights mandates as well as national legislation.

Download ICF at a Glance (pdf, 239.6KB)

Access the ICF web page or search the WHO ICF browser (2024) or ICF Online (2024)

About ICF Australia

With many Australians now living with long term disability or chronic conditions, it is a growing imperative that researchers, administrators and professionals work with people experiencing disability to understand and promote optimal participation.

The ICF provides a framework and classification that is designed to be relevant to a wide range of purposes, people, disciplines and sectors and is recognised as the national and international standard classification of functioning and disability.

Join the ICF Australia interest group

The ICF Australia interest group encourages understanding of and education about the ICF and its use by facilitating a forum for discussion, providing key educational resources and a platform for network-sponsored events.

Key activities of the ICF interest group include:

  • the development of practical tools and initiatives to enhance the accessibility and ease of use of the ICF
  • using the ICF to generate knowledge and to improve policy, practice, services and the lives of people with disability
  • proposing improvements in the existing ICF, including its cross-cultural relevance and applicability

Contact the ICF Australia Project Officer to get involved.

CAPS is a pharmaceutical classification system devised by the former Family Medicine Research Centre and used in the Centre's general practice research since the 1980s.

Its structure has been developed and expanded over the years to allow identification of all products currently used in Australian general practice.

Download the CAPS brochure (pdf, 475.5kb).

In the past we have assisted a range of overseas countries in adopting the Australian Classification System package including New Zealand, Ireland and Singapore.


Download our list of recent publications (pdf, 150KB)

Fundamentals of Morbidity Coding

Fundamentals of Morbidity Coding presents a core understanding of how to classify diseases and using ICD-10-AM and the Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI), in accordance with the Australian Coding Standards (ACS). The main areas of the classifications are discussed, with exercises relevant to each section to test the user’s knowledge. 

Topics include:

  • Introduction to ICD-10-AM, ACHI and ACS
  • Conventions used in the classifications
  • Abstracting relevant information from the clinical record for coding
  • Answers to exercises.

Fundamentals of Morbidity Coding also provides a history of the development of classification systems and describes the purpose of clinical coding.

Order online:

Fundamentals of Morbidity Coding 11th Ed 2019 * (11th Edition)

Fundamentals of Morbidity Coding 10th Ed 2017 * (10th Edition)

Our people

  • Professor Richard Madden, Professor of Health Statistics 
  • Dr Julie Gordon, Research Fellow
  • Dr Nicola Fortune, Research Fellow
  • Dr Ros Madden, Honorary Senior Research Fellow
  • Catherine Sykes, Honorary Senior Research Fellow
  • Megan Cumerlato, Research Affiliate
  • Nicole Rankin, Research Affiliate
  • Julia Leahy, Classification Specialist

Classifications Head

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Prof Richard Madden
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