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Acupuncture Today – December, 2015, Vol. 16, Issue 12

Are You a Stakeholder?

By Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large

In today's world many new things are occurring, especially in the world of information technology. With these changes, comes an entire new set of vocabulary words and definitions. It encompasses old words with new meanings and uses.

Facebook and Twitter have their own words, abbreviations and meanings. It is like speaking an entirely new language.

The word stakeholder was once reserved for those who held positions of authority and leadership. A stakeholder is a person that has an interest in a specific project. Today, almost all of us are stakeholders in something. Are you a stakeholder? If you're answer is yes, then where are you a stakholder? It's important for all of us in the acupuncture profession to asnwer this question. If you're having trouble answering, I can help you out. You, as an acupuncturist may not have thought about it or know it but you are a stakeholder. You are a stakeholder in the acupuncture profession. Your patients are stakeholders.

International Classification Codes

I hope that you, as an acupuncturist who practices Asian Medicine, are interested in the International Classification of Traditional Medicine -11, the diagnostic codes project being led by the World Health Organization. This project began well over 15 years ago when the 196 member countries of the United Nations began to discuss health care and socialized medicine in 1999. This project has continued to advance and grow over the ensuing years and is in the final stages of completion.

acupuncture needles - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark The first section of the project included the correct location of 361 acupuncture point locations and the second part was the establishment of agreed upon definitions of words and definitions to create the beginning of a 4000 word ontology. The next phase is the establishment of 800 agreed upon diagnostic codes in Chinese terms to be included in the eleventh revision of the International Diagnostic Codes. These codes are housed and revised by the World Health Organization.

The ICD code sets are used for counting the number of mortalities, morbidities and co-morbidities. When the WHO conducted a survey in 2012 with countries around the world, they found 82% of the world's population used some form of integrated medicine and acupuncture was the leading method. Acupuncture will be the first complementary medicine outside of Western medicine to have a set of diagnostic codes. You are someone who will be impacted by and one who cares about how things and events are happening in the acupuncture world. You and your practice will be affected by the additional of the ICTM-11 codes.

Together, we have raised $300,000 toward the establishment of a set of diagnostic codes. These codes have moved into the field trials and peer review phase. The acupuncturists in the United States have been invited and selected to participate in these processes.

The Next Challenge

You are a stakeholder. Now, it's time to become an active stakeholder. Our challenge is to contribute and raise another $300,000 to complete the project. I have figured out that if every acupuncturist, student and school contributed just $10, we could complete this project and have a majora role in the final outcome of the codes that will be shared around the world. Of course, you can contribute more if you can and want to.

You will receive a letter that can be displayed to educate your patients that this is an important project and that you are an invested stakeholder in the progress of acupuncture around the world. We will be using Facebook and Twitter to further spread our message. Contributions can be made through the Consortium for Oriental Medicine Research and Education Foundation. It is a non-profit 501c3 and your gift is a tax-deductible contribution.

Please join me in reaching our goal for the support of the acupuncture profession.

Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.

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