Introduction to Classification and Terminology

Clinical coding is critical to collating health data in a meaningful and efficient way.

Classification and Terminology, National Collections and Reporting within the Ministry of Health plays a central role in leadership and direction for national clinical coding – ensuring quality information is available for casemix, research, health service planning, evaluation and funding.

New Zealand hospitals use the classification system developed by the World Health Organization and modified by permission for Australian Government purposes, called the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM), the Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI) and Australian Coding Standards (ACS).

The clinical notes from all inpatient and day patients discharged from New Zealand public hospitals are clinically coded and recorded in the hospital’s patient management system (PMS). Coded summaries of these discharges are forwarded to the Ministry of Health where the information is loaded and stored in the national collection National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) for easy retrieval and analysis of the data. In New Zealand hospital discharge data is the basis for:

  • national and regional morbidity and mortality analysis
  • contract monitoring and payments
  • research into diseases, injuries and patient outcomes
  • benchmarking of clinical practice between hospitals
  • improving patient care, and
  • improving hospital practices and resource allocation.

The Classification and Terminology team engages in activities that ensure New Zealand is represented in benchmarking and information sharing with international (particularly Australian) health care organisations and works with the classification providers in the development of ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS. Classification and Terminology also manages the implementation of new editions of ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS within New Zealand which primarily involves a focus on education and clinical coding data quality.

The Ministry of Health is also a Charter Member of SNOMED International who owns, maintains and administers the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). Clinical terminologies are the component of health language used at point of care for the purpose of clinical management. For more information click on the SNOMED CT link contained within these pages.

Classification and Terminology promotes excellence in clinical coding and we hope that you will use this web resource to support and develop your clinical coding practices.

Tracey Vandenberg
Group Manager
National Collections and Reporting

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