What is the International Classification of Primary Care?


The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) is a classification method for primary care encounters. It allows for the classification of the patient’s reason for encounter (RFE), the problems/diagnosis managed, primary or general health care interventions, and the ordering of the data of the primary care session in an episode of care structure.

Refer to ICPC-2 Plus.

It was developed by the WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC), and was first published in 1987 by Oxford University Press (OUP). A revision and inclusion of criteria and definitions was published in 1998. The second revision was accepted within the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Family of International Classifications.

The classification was developed in a context of increasing demand for quality information on primary care as part of growing worldwide attention to global primary health care objectives, including the WHO’s target of “health for all”.

Brief History

The first version of ICPC, which was published in 1987, is referred to as ICPC-1. A subsequent revision which was published in the 1993 publication The International Classification of Primary Care in the European Community: With a Multi-Language Layer is known as ICPC-E.

The 1998 publication, of version 2, is referred to as ICPC-2. The acronym ICPC-2-E, refers to a revised electronic version, which was released in 2000. Subsequent revisions of ICPC-2 are also labelled with a release date.

Refer to ICPC-2 Plus.



The ICPC contains 17 chapters:

  • A General and unspecified.
  • B Blood, blood forming organs, lymphatics, spleen.
  • D Digestive.
  • F Eye.
  • H Ear.
  • K Circulatory.
  • L Musculoskeletal.
  • N Neurological.
  • P Psychological.
  • R Respiratory.
  • S Skin.
  • T Endocrine, metabolic and nutritional.
  • U Urology.
  • W Pregnancy, childbirth, family planning.
  • X Female genital system and breast.
  • Y Male genital system.
  • Z Social problems.


The ICPC classification, within each chapter, is based on 3 components coming from 3 different classifications:

  • Reason for Encounter Classification (1981).
  • International Classification of Process in Primary Care (IC-Process-PC) (1985).
  • International Classification of Health Problem in Primary Care (ICHPPC-2-d) (1976, 1983).

This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Classification_of_Primary_Care >; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.

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