Thursday, January 13, 2011

World Health Organization Developing Traditional Medicine Classification

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced a project to classify traditional medicine. Having a reference of terminologies and classifications for diagnosis and interventions will "assist in creating an evidence base for traditional medicine"[1] and an international "platform" for "the harmonization of data for clinical, epidemiological and statistical use."

The project will begin with the traditional medicine practices and customs of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea that have spread worldwide and will utilize an interactive online platform. Traditional medicine practitioners will use the platform to document the terminology and the concepts they use.

The International Classification of Traditional Medicine (ICTM) "
further illustrates WHO’s dedication to aiding traditional medicine’s globalization and integration into worldwide healthcare."[2] WHO's expected outcomes from the ICTM project include objective data on the benefits of traditional data, safety and use, and spending and trends; the ability to study the use of traditional medicine with disease prevention and treatment; and a universal classification system which would allow countries worldwide to base their research on the same data.

[1] WHO to define information standards for traditional medicine. Accessed 1/13/11 at
[2] Stafford, L. (2011). WHO Developing New Traditional Medicine Classification. HerbalEGram 8(1). Web. Accessed 1/13/11 at

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