Jeannie Kang WHO Interview
The Qi-Unity Report interviews Jeannie Kang, the AAAOM advisor to the World Health Organization. Jeannie heads the AAAOM Korean Advisory Council and practices acupuncture in Los Angeles, California. Kang has been working with the WHO to initiate ICD 11, a publication the terms of which will be explored in this interview.
QUR: How did the AAAOM become the sole US AOM representative dealing with the WHO?
JK: Back in 2005, Will Morris called me to ask if I would go to Korea for the WHO meeting. Apparently, the WHO contacted what was the AAOM at the time to have more North American involvement regarding Oriental medicine. The WHO now sees the AAAOM as the organization that is in a leadership position in Oriental medicine in the United States.
QUR: What is ICD 11?
JK: ICD stands for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems which is published by WHO. ICD is a coding system of diseases and signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, external cause of injuries, and such. The 11 stands for the 11th edition. Usually, ICD was revised every 10 years. ICD-10 was published in 1990. So its 11th edition should have been published in 2000. However, medical knowledge is increasing exponentially, and there are a lot of modules emerging that will add to ICD and other health related classifications (WHO-FIC), such that it is difficult to publish every ten years. It is difficult to get all parties together that must review all the information involved with publication. The logistics are tremendous. Officially, revision work for ICD 11 started at the last 2007 WHO-FIC Network meeting. It will be published in 2015 with terminology and classification systems.
QUR: Why is ICD 11 so important?
JK: ICD 11 development is significant to Western practitioners because the implementation of traditional medicine into the ICD 11 codes will set the stage for a global healthcare system integration. Incorporating traditional medicine into the ICD coding system for medical records and billing is an essential prerequisite for advancement of traditional medicine into the mainstream medical system. The WHO has agreed to work with a standardized terminology on the basic terms it has identified.
QUR: Was there universal agreement on implementing ICD 11?
JK: Yes. Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Australia and the U.S. were present at these meetings. After many, many hours of arduous discussions, there was consensus to go forward being part of the global healthcare record system. This was a historical day! I believe that the countries present recognized that although they might have to sacrifice a little of their terminology and their means of documenting medicine in each of their countries, the overall benefit of having this awesome medicine go global was timely and necessary.
During the discussion, some countries were concerned about the importance of going global because they feared their medicine might be changed in the process. Eventually, however, everyone overcame this obstacle and agreed to support participating in the making of the ICD 11 coding for traditional medicine.
QUR: Kindly introduce Dr. Choi and Dr. Shim to those unfamiliar with their work.
JK: Dr. Choi Seung Hoon is the director of the Western Pacific Region of the WHO. His presence during the last 4 years changed the dynamic of this region. He has held many working group meetings during his tenure. This translates to finishing the standardization of 361 acupuncture point locations. This took 3 years to do. This is also a historical event because in the last 50 years a standard such as this has never occurred. This year the completion of the standardization of terminology of traditional medicine was significant. It has been very well received throughout Asia. Moving toward the inclusion of traditional medicine in the ICD coding is currently ground-breaking work. This is largely due to the passion and heartfelt work of Dr. Choi. The standard terminology book developed by Dr. Choi is called The WHO International Standard Terminology on Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific Region.
The invitation to Dr. Shim came about to introduce U.S. practitioners to WHO and its involvement in traditional medicine. There was a very good response to the panel of honored guests at the AAAOM conference in Portland. Dr. Shim explained the significance of the WHO involvement in TM, ICD 11, and the significance of this agreement for TM practitioners. This is the first time that AAAOM invited a Korean representative who was also the temporary advisor to the WHO. DR. Shim was one of the first ones present from beginning of the development of the terminology and the ICD 11. He was basically the sole person to formulate the data for Korea for ICD 10 records. These records were presented to the WHO working group for the development of the foundation for ICD 11. So, his presence meant a lot in terms of his involvement and dedication to WHO and the work he did in Korea.
QUR: What is the US role vis-à-vis terminology standards in the WHO?
JK: That will depend on AAAOM and its involvement with the new terminology committee led by Eric Brand. I am very excited about this committee, and I hope that our participation in this process will produce data that I can take back to the WHO meeting in June that will engender good discussions.