What is ICPC-2 PLUS?

The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2) is a classification designed for primary care, developed by the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca). It classifies information relating to why the patient has come for the consultation (the reasons for encounter), the problems managed during the encounter, procedures, referrals, imaging and pathology tests. ICPC-2 has been endorsed as the Australian standard for classification in general practice and patient self-reported data, and is distributed in Australia by the Family Medicine Research Centre (FMRC) at the University of Sydney.
ICPC-2 PLUS is an interface terminology classified to ICPC-2. It has been designed specifically for use in electronic health records.  It was developed using over one million encounter records and therefore uses terms that are common in Australian general practice. ICPC-2 PLUS can be used in software available from a number of software companies, including Genie Solutions, Zedmed CRS, Intrahealth Systems, IBA Health, Medtech Healthcare and Stat Health Systems. At present approximately 1,800 GPs in Australia use ICPC-2 PLUS, and it is also used in various research projects and co-ordinated care trials.

How does it work?

ICPC-2 PLUS allows users to record information in electronic health records in a reliable and consistent way, by attaching a ‘code’ to the term you choose. Using keywords that are common in everyday general practice, ICPC-2 PLUS does all the work for you in the background. You won‘t even be aware that you are coding and classifying the information. All you have to do is type in the first part of a keyword and select the term you want to use – you don’t have to type whole words or phrases. When you subscribe to ICPC-2 PLUS we give you a User Guide, which lists all the keywords available. ICPC-2 PLUS is updated regularly, and if there is a term you use that isn’t included, we would love to hear from you!


Mr Jones has come in for his regular diabetes check-up.  In the reason for encounter section of your record (if your software provider allows for this) you type in ‘CHECK’ (part of the keyword ‘CHECKUP’). You are then presented with a list of terms. One of these terms is Check up;diabetes, which you select. The software automatically assigns a code in the background, in this case T31 005, and stores the term you choose, and its code in the record.

Mr Jones has non-insulin dependent diabetes. In ICPC-2 PLUS, you can use any of the synonyms for this type of diabetes, such as Type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes. You can also use acronyms, such as NIDDM, as keywords. Simply enter a keyword, such as ‘DIAB’, and you will be offered a picklist of terms. You select your preferred term, non-insulin dependent diabetes, out of the picklist and again the term and its code are stored in the record.

Why do I need ICPC-2 PLUS?

When you record data in medical records using ICPC-2 PLUS, retrieving your data for auditing, quality assurance or continuity of care is easier and more reliable than manually counting patient records to find out how many patients in your practice are being treated for a particular condition. Using ICPC-2 PLUS, it doesn’t matter if other doctors in the practice don’t use the same terms as you, because each term is grouped with similar terms (i.e. the terms are classified according to ICPC-2).
When you are ready to analyse your data, you can choose an output file, known as a grouper, which will extract information from your records at a level of specificity that you choose.


If you want to find or count all patients in your practice with:

  • Any type of diabetes – you select the ‘Diabetes (all)’ grouper
  • All diabetes (except gestational) – you select the ‘Diabetes (non-gestational)’ grouper
  • Insulin dependent diabetes only – you select ‘Diabetes, insulin dependent’
  • Non-insulin dependent diabetes only – you select ‘Diabetes, non-insulin dependent’

This information was supplied by The Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney.  The FMRC was established in August 1999 to undertake health services research in general practice and primary care in Australia.

For further information on pricing and registering to use ICPC-2 PLUS in Stat, please contact us.

Click here to download the ICPC-2 PLUS subscription form, or click here to go to the ICPC-2 PLUS website.

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