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International Classification of Primary Care, Second edition PLUS

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termClassification Scheme
Synonymous names:Help on this termICPC-2 PLUS
METeOR identifier:Help on this term596654
Registration status:Help on this termNational Health Performance Authority (retired), Retired 01/07/2016
Definition:Help on this term

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.

ICPC-2 PLUS is primarily used in Australia. It is installed in various software packages and used in electronic health record (EHR) systems by approximately 3,200 GPs in more than 500 practices throughout Australia. It is also used in research projects, including the BEACH (Bettering the Evaluation And Care of Health) program, the national study of general practice activity. The terminology is therefore often referred to as the BEACH coding system.

The terminology is maintained and regularly updated by the Family Medicine Research Centre (FMRC), at the University of Sydney. Users of ICPC-2 PLUS are actively involved in the ongoing development of the terminology.

Classification structure:Help on this term

ICPC-2 PLUS is based on the same structure as ICPC-2. See the ICPC-2 section to find out more.

There are 3 main constructs within the structure of ICPC-2 PLUS:

  1. The term: This is the written description of the concept you are trying to capture. Examples of what domains the terms may include are: a disease label (e.g. hypertension), a symptom (e.g. cough) or a procedure (e.g. dressing).
  2. The code: This is a six digit alpha-numeric code linked to the term. For information about the structure of the code please see the diagram below.
  3. Keywords: These are used as the links to access the term. Keywords may be terms, synonyms, acronyms etc and are linked to ICPC-2 PLUS terms to facilitate data entry. Multiple keywords can be linked to a single term.

ICPC-2 PLUS codes are 6 digits long, and can be broken down into two parts, the ICPC-2 code, and the "plus" code. For example, A86001:




The first 3 characters are the ICPC-2 code. The alphabetic part (A) indicates the chapter of the ICPC-2 code, while the numeric part (86) identifies the location of the code within the chapter. The last three digits comprise the 'plus' part of the ICPC-2 PLUS code. As each plus code is created, it is assigned the next available 3 digit number in the rubric. As such, there is no meaning to the order of these codes.

Structure of ICPC-2

A biaxial structure and consists of 17 chapters, each divided into 7 components dealing with symptoms and complaints (comp. 1), diagnostic, screening and preventive procedures (comp. 2), medication, treatment and procedures (comp. 3), test results (comp. 4), administrative (comp. 5), referrals and other reasons for encounter (comp. 6) and diseases (comp. 7).

Source and reference attributes

Origin:Help on this term

ICPC, first released in 1987, was designed for the classification of patients' reasons for encounter, health problems and processes of care in paper-based records. With the increasing use of computerised medical records in the 1990s the Family Medicine Research Centre (FMRC) recognised the need for an acceptable and usable terminology for general practice computerised clinical systems. The FMRC designed an Australian general practice terminology, classified to ICPC, based on terms recorded in over one million general practice encounter records. The terminology was released in 1995 and called ICPC PLUS.

Reference documents:Help on this term
Revision status:Help on this termThe second edition, ICPC-2 PLUS, was released in 1998 in line with the international update of ICPC (ICPC-1) to ICPC-2. ICPC-2 PLUS is updated approximately three times per year to incorporate user feedback and suggestions for new content.

Relational attributes

Value Domains based on this classification scheme:Help on this term

Diagnosis code (ICPC-2 PLUS) ANNNNN National Health Performance Authority (retired), Retired 01/07/2016

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