Korean J Fam Med.  2022 Sep;43(5):305-311. 10.4082/kjfm.22.0119.

Comparison between the International Classification of Primary Care and the International Classification of Diseases Classifications in Primary Care in Korea

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Gangnam Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Yongin Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Yongin, Korea
  • 3Department of Data Science, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Korea
  • 4National Evidence-based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul, Korea
  • 5VUNO Inc., Seoul, Korea
  • 6Department of Health Convergence, Ehwa Womans University, Seoul, Korea


The International Classification of Primary Care-2 (ICPC-2) is a classification method designed for primary care. Although previous studies have found that ICPC-2 is a useful tool for demonstrating the relationship between patients’ expectations and health providers’ diagnoses, its utility of ICPC-2 has yet to be fully studied in Korea. This study aimed to evaluate the practicality of ICPC-2 in Korean primary care.
The study was conducted at primary care clinics in Seoul and Gyeonggi areas from October to November 2015. Third-year family medicine residents examined and analyzed the medical records of patients who visited primary care physicians using ICPC-2, and the results were compared with those obtained using the International Classification of Diseases-10 (ICD-10) (Korean version: Korean Standard Classification of Diseases-7).
A total of 26 primary care physicians from 23 primary care clinics participated in the study. Furthermore, 2,458 ICD-10 codes and 6,091 ICPC-2 codes were recorded from the data of 1,099 patients. The common disease codes were vasomotor and allergic rhinitis (J30), according to ICD-10, and acute upper respiratory infection (R74) in ICPC-2. Comparing disease status by body systems, the proportion of gastrointestinal disease with ICD-10 codes was significantly higher than that with ICPC-2 codes (P<0.001). Furthermore, patients with >4 diagnoses accounted for 36% of the ICD-10 classifications, whereas those with >4 diagnoses accounted for 4% of the ICPC-2 classifications.
Introducing ICPC as a complementary means for diagnosing common diseases could be a practical approach in Korean primary care.


International Classification of Diseases; International Classification of Primary Care; Primary Health Care; Korea
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