The Alphabetical Index (formerly: Thesaurus of diagnostic terms, "Diagnosenthesaurs") to the Tabular List of ICD-10-GM consists of an extensive compilation of encoded diagnoses and other terms; another integral part is the table of neoplasms. In addition, it contains an introduction on structure and use with an overview of the different versions and of the glossaries integrated into the Alphabetical Index. The Alphabetical Index makes working with ICD-10-GM considerably easier. It can be used both in inpatient and in outpatient care; however, please note that different encoding rules apply in some instances. For more information and examples, please turn to the "Encoding instructions" in the preface to the Tabular List for ICD-10-GM.
The Alphabetical Index is generated on the basis of diagnostic texts in standard language which have been assigned the corresponding ICD code, e.g. "Thorakaler Bandscheibenvorfall M51.2" (Other specified intervertebral disc displacement). The electronic version of the Alphabetical Index currently contains more than 80,000 such texts. Permutation (changes in word order and splitting the term into its component parts if it consists of a diagnosis and topographical information) generally results in a range of possible search entries. "Thorakaler Bandscheibenvorfall" can be searched for under "thorakal" (thoracic), "Bandscheibe" (intervertebral disc) , "Vorfall" (displacement)", etc. In this way, the approx. 80,000 diagnostic texts turn into almost twice as many search entries in the print edition. In the print edition, these permutated entries are sorted alphabetically and can be found under the lead terms, highlighted in bold; the other components (known as modifiers) appear indented and bulleted underneath the lead term. The searcher is always directed to the correct code irrespective of the search termorder.
The multi-page "Table of neoplasms" interrupts the 2-column print layout of the Alphabetical index with its 6-column structure. The standard bullet point structure is maintained. Under the lead term "Neoplasms", column 1 contains modifying terms, mainly topographical information. Columns 2-5 contain the associated ICD codes, differentiated according to their character: malignant (primary, secondary), in situ, benign and uncertain or unspecified behaviour. Integrated comments explain the use of the table.
The Alphabetical Index is not simply generated by alphabetically ordering the entries in the Tabular List.
Many of the (diagnostic) descriptions in the Alphabetical Index do not appear in the Tabular List. The descriptions included in a particular category of the Tabular List are not final; they serve as examples for the content of that category and as an indication of its scope and delimitation. To that end, the Tabular List uses preferred terms. In addition to these preferred terms, the associated Alphabetical Index also contains many other currently used diagnostic terms, thus also synonyms. Imprecise and possibly outdated terms are often also included because they still may appear in medical notes. The introduction to the Alphabetical Index contains an overview of the glossaries integrated into this index. As a fundamental rule, all codes taken from the Alphabetical Index should be cross-checked with the Tabular List and the Instruction Manual.
Not all diagnosis texts/codes contained in the systematic index are also included in the Alphabetical Index. For example, the following are missing:
Alpha-ID, published by DIMDI since 2005, uses the extensive compilation of diagnostic terms in the Alphabetical Index as the basis for a non-classifying diagnostic code.