WONCA Working Party: International Classification (WICC)

International Classification (WICC)

The WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC) is WONCA's longest serving committee. It is a large group whose mission is to develop and maintain classifications that accommodate the complete domain of family medicine/general practice.

The WICC has an impressive collection of publications including the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) which classifies patient data and clinical activity in the domains of general practice/family practice and primary care, taking into account the frequency distribution of problems seen in these domains. It allows classification of the patient’s reason for encounter, the problems/diagnosis managed, interventions, and the ordering of these data in an episode of care structure.

Interested persons can contact the Chair for information on how to become an active participant in Committee.

International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) explained December 2016ICPC-2 English websiteICPC-3 English website (launched December 2020)

Convenor / Chair

Prof Thomas Kühlein(USA)

Email Chair

Thomas is the Professor of General Practice in Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

He was born Washington DC, USA, in 1962. His family moved to Germany when he was three years old. He grew up in Munich in the south of Germany. After finishing his studies and training, he worked as a general practitioner in a group practice in Northern Bavaria, in a rural area, for ten years.

In 2006 he went to the University of Heidelberg where he did his habilitation (similar to a PhD). The research topic was on how to gain information about the content of primary medical care from electronic health records. Accordingly the title of the research project was CONTENT (CONTinuous morbidity registration Epidemiologic NeTwork). Data capture in the CONTENT-project was accomplished with the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC-2). Via the CONTENT-project he became member of the WONCA International Classification Committee (WICC).

In Germany, there currently is a severe lack of young general practitioners in the rural areas. This is why the government forced and funded the opening of new institutes of general practice at many German Universities. One of these new institutes is in Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he became the professor, in October 2013. His work at the university is on health services research and teaching. He still sees patients and is leading a group practice in the suburbs of Erlangen in parallel with his university work. In 2016, I became the chair of the WICC at our meeting in Turku/Finland.

He is married to Anna, who is an architect, and has three children. The eldest became a physician and the two younger ones are studying physics and sports sciences.

Co-Convenor or other office bearers

Deputy chair

Kees van Boven (the Netherlands)

Executive Members

Vision and Mission of WONCA Working Party on International Classification (WICC)

The mission of the WONCA International Classification Committee is to develop and maintain classifications that accommodate the complete domain of family/general practice, and to ensure that these classifications are interoperable to the highest degree possible with standard international health care terminologies and classifications, in order to contribute to equitable quality health care worldwide.

Objectives of the WONCA Working Party on International Classification (WICC)

From the mission statement, we derive the following primary goals:

  • To achieve widespread international use of the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC)
  • To maintain and revise ICPC to accommodate expanded health care knowledge
  • To develop productive working relationships with other international standards development organizations
  • To support the work of WICC and WONCA through licensing of ICPC
  • To create and disseminate additional classification tools as needed to capture and codify the complete domain of family/general practice

These goals lead to the following core objectives for the work of WICC:

  • Stabilize ICPC-2 in electronic and print form (version control)
  • Reconcile and maintain maps between ICPC and ICD, ICPC and SNOMED
  • Complete licensing agreements for ICPC-2 in new countries, particularly developing areas
  • Identify a stable and sustainable Web-based host for ICPC-2
  • Develop a training program for ICPC
  • Create and maintain a professional Web presence for WICC
  • Promote additional translations of ICPC and other primary care classification tools
  • Create a “primary care classification package” of ICPC-plus-other terminologies built in to simple open-source health IT intended for use in developing areas
  • Build the conceptual foundation for ICPC-3 (the “primary care data model”)
  • Complete collaborative agreements with WHO and IHTSDO
  • Identify additional classification needs and develop new tools to fill those needs
  • Build capacity for data analysis and field trials within WICC or WONCA
  • Strengthen working relationships with WONCA Informatics Working Party
  • Create an international “Primary Care Classification Consortium” to organize and fund our activities



WICC meeting in Lviv 2018

WICC meeting in Finland in 2016

WICC report 2015-16


Relevant Resources

WICC Products

Other WICC links

The COOP / WONCA charts - a way of classifying and recording the overall functional status of the patient as distinct from the status of severity of their health problem(s). 

DUSOI - WONCA severity of illness instrument

WONCA Dictionary of General Practice (2003)
The main purpose of this dictionary is to act as a reference for GPs/FPs throughout the world, so that they can communicate meaningfully about general/family practice now and in the near future. The Dictionary’s ambition is to cover general terms regarding the organization and the work in general/family practice, research, classification, and epidemiology.

Quaternary Prevention Concept  – first do no harm endorsed by WICC