WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre in the Nordic Countries


More about Nordclass


The Nordic Centre for Classifications in Health Care was established in 1987 as a WHO Collaborating Centre for the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) to represent the Nordic Countries in international activities related to the International Classification of Diseases.


The Centre was initiated by the Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee (NOMESCO) (http://www.nom-nos.dk/) and financed and supported by grants from the Nordic Council of Ministries. The Centre was hosted by the University of Uppsala in Sweden, founded and chaired by Björn Smedby 1987-2002, and chaired by Martti Virtanen 2003-2008.


Health statistics have a long tradition in the Nordic countries. Comparisons of health statistics between the Nordic - but also to some extent the Baltic countries – is the main task of NOMESCO. In 2006 NOMESCO celebrated its 40-year anniversary with two publications:

  • Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee (NOMESCO) 1966-2006


These publications give a detailed picture of both the development of the Nordic health statistics and the Nordic use of classifications, and are available in the typical NOMESCO style with both English and Scandinavian texts - side by side.


The yearly publication, Health Statistics in the Nordic Countries, summarizes and compares the annual Nordic statistics, but also includes a theme section and present background tables. Examples on themes are (publication year within brackets): Report on mortality statistics (2010); Quality indicators (2009); Health of the Elderly People (2008); Mental Health (2007); Out-patient care (2006).


Since 1995 the Centre has been financed by 4-year grants from the national health authorities in the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The Centre is an independent body with its own budget and its own board and reporting lines. The Head of Centre reports to the Board of the Centre, whose members are appointed by the national health authorities in the five Nordic countries.


From 1993 the Centre assumed responsibility for work with the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (now the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). From 2000 the Centre also had the main responsibility for development and update of NordDRG – the Nordic common Casemix system. The development of a common Nordic surgical classification of procedures (NOMESCO Classification of Surgical Procedures) in 1996 was essential for the DRG, as well as a common use and understanding of ICD-10.


Due to practical and logistical reasons the Centre had to be reorganized and relocated to Oslo, Norway from January 1st 2009, with Arnt Ole Ree as the new Head of Centre. All DRG activities were moved to a new Nordic Casemix Centre established in Helsinki, Finland, with Martti Virtanen as new Chief Executive Officer.


The Nordic Centre (Nordclass) was re-designated as a Collaborating Centre until September 2008. The relocation of the Centre to Norway implied a designation as a new Collaborating Centre, not a re-designation. A designation process started early in 2009, but had to be withdrawn in November 2009, because of an unclear situation with lack of support from some of the Nordic authorities.


In January 2010 Lars Berg replaced Arnt Ole Ree, as the new Head of Centre. Inspired by the WHO-FIC Toronto meeting a letter was sent to the Nordic health authorities in December 2010, applying for further support of the Nordic classification work. The responses to this letter were successful. A new designations process could be initiated again in January 2011, and WHO could in June 2011 start the formal designation process, which is now ongoing.


The Nordic Centre continues to be active in promoting the development and use of ICD, ICF and other derived or related classification in the Nordic and to some extent also the Baltic countries and in supporting the work of the WHO-FIC Network.


The Centre collaborates with the Classification Departments/Units, the Casemix work and the statistical units/departments in all the Nordic countries, as well as with the Casemix Centre in Helsinki, Finland and with NOMESCO, Copenhagen, Denmark


Denmark and Sweden were charter members in IHTSDO (International Health Terminologies Standards Development Organization) (www.ihtsdo.org/) from 2007. In September 2011 Iceland joined IHTSDO, so three of five Nordic countries are now involved in the SNOMED CT work, which will also have implications for the Classification work.


The annual reports to WHO for the period 2000-2006 (zip file) and for 2011 (pdf file) can be downloaded below.

Annual reports from the Centre intended for the annual plenary meetings of NOMESCO are available for the period 2000-2009 (exception for 2007-2008), but written in Scandinavian languages and can be dosnloaded below.


Link to Annual Reports.