ICF Application Areas

Implementation of the ICF started in 2001 with the unanimous endorsement of the classification by the 54th World Health Assembly as the framework for describing and measuring health and disability. Since then, ICF has been applied in a variety of settings at national and international level.

International and national health and disability reporting

ICF based health and disability surveys have been conducted at national and international level. In WHO the ICF framework has been used in the Multi-Country Survey Study in 2000/2001 and the World Health Survey Program in 2002/2003 to measure health status of the general population in 71 countries. From this data WHO and selected Members States are currently generating population norms for selected ICF domains and disability prevalence rates. At regional level UNSD, UNESCWA and UNESCAP in collaboration with WHO implemented a series of workshops for African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries to improve disability statistics using the ICF framework. At national level ICF based data sets and questionnaires are currently used in a number of countries including Australia, Irland, Mexico, Zimbabwe, Malawi.

Several countries started the process of streamlining ICF in their health & social information standards and legislation. Development and piloting of ICF based indicators and reporting systems for use in rehabilitation, home-care, age-care, disability evaluation are ongoing in Australia, Canada, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico.

Clinical and epidemiological use

In clinical settings ICF is used for functional status assessment, goal setting & treatment planning and monitoring, as well as outcome measurement. Countries, which already use ICF in a variety of clinical settings include Australia, Italy, The Netherlands….. At international level WHO is exploring the use of ICF to measure health outcomes and guide disability management in infectious disease programs such as LF and

Social Policy

Describe ICF use in Disability policy, anti dicrimination law, disability evaluation


Describe ICF use for impact, intervention and application research.