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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2007 Oct;19(5):473-81.

Classification for clinical practice: how to make ICD and DSM better able to serve clinicians.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


With DSM-V and ICD-11 on the horizon, now is an excellent time to consider options for improving their utility in clinical practice. A prerequisite for determining what can be done to improve their clinical utility is to establish a baseline from which to work. Surprisingly, there is virtually no information available that illuminates how clinicians actually use the DSM-IV and ICD-10 in clinical practice settings. Our first recommendation is for studies to be conducted that examine how the DSM-IV and ICD-10 is being used in the field and then to identify areas in need of improvement. We then propose two new diagnostic approaches to be considered that might significantly improve the system's clinical utility: (1) the addition of clinically useful dimensions (i.e., dimensions for indicating disorder severity, dimensions that cut across various disorders that would quantify symptoms of particular treatment-relevance such as psychosis, and dimensions to measure functioning) and (2) the augmentation of the DSM and ICD operationalized diagnostic criteria with the addition of a prototype-matching system that is likely to more closely conform to the way clinicians think about psychiatric diagnoses.

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