General practice classifications and terminologies

ICPC-2 PLUS

ICPC-2 PLUS overview

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 National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH), at the University of Sydney. Users of ICPC-2 PLUS are actively involved in the ongoing development of the terminology.

Obtaining ICPC-2 PLUS

If you are developing a software program, either for clinical or research purposes, and would like to consider using the ICPC-2 PLUS terminology, see the Developers section of the website.

If you are purchasing an EHR system that incorporates ICPC-2 PLUS and would like to use it for coding your health information, see the End Users section of the website.


ICPC-2 - International Classification for Primary Care

The International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC), developed by the ICPC Working Party, broke new ground in the world of classification when it was published in 1987 by WONCA, the World Organisation of National Colleges, Academies, and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians, now known more briefly as the World Organisation of Family Doctors (Wonca). For the first time health care providers could classify, using a single classification, three important elements of the health care encounter; reasons for encounter (RFE), diagnoses or problems, and process of care. Problem orientation of the medical record and linkage of encounters over time permits classification of the episode from the beginning with an RFE to its conclusion with a more defined problem, diagnosis, or disease.


ATC - Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical - Introduction

Title: The Anatomical, Therapeutic, Chemical (ATC) classification system with Defined Daily Doses (DDDs), short: The ATC/DDD system.

Since 1982, the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system has been maintained by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Drug Statistics Methodology in Oslo, Norway. The system provides a global standard for classifying medical substances and serves as a tool for drug utilisation research. The WHO recommends the ATC system for international comparisons. In the WHO framework it is also used for reporting of adverse drug reactions. ATC codes are included both in international and national drug catalogues (including Australia) and represent a common language. Courses in the ATC/DDD methodology are arranged annually by the Oslo Centre, with participants from all over the world. Researchers, representatives from health authorities and the pharmaceutical industry attend these courses.

In 2004 ATC was accepted into the Australian Family of Health and Related Classifications for use in classifying drugs.


CAPS - Coding Atlas for Pharmaceutical Substances

CAPS is a pharmaceutical classification system devised by the former Family Medicine Research Centre and used in the Centre's general practice research since the 1980s. Its structure has been developed and expanded over the years to allow identification of all products currently used in Australian general practice.

Click here for further information about CAPS