Operationalizing the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in Clinical Settings


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Abstract

Functional status may be a better indicator of health care needs and outcomes than diagnosis. Appropriate use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in health service settings can provide a standardized way for clinicians to communicate complex clinical assessments to other professionals, administrators, and payers. The American Psychological Association is working with the World Health Organization to develop a Procedural Manual and Guide for a Standardized Application of the ICF for use by multidisciplinary health professionals. The Procedural Manual includes operational definitions of concepts, examples of each code, and assessment information relevant to each qualifier. The purpose of the Procedural Manual is to provide health professionals with the guidance necessary for reliable, valid, and clinically useful classification. This article discusses a range of issues and problems in the application of individual ICF codes in the context of health care and offers some potential solutions.

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