The project described here uses an international psychiatric classification (in this case Chapter V(F) of the ICD-10 produced by the World Health Organization) as a means of international communication and educational discussion about everyday clinical issues. In a first stage, psychiatrists in Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) wrote 20 detailed clinical case histories about patients who suffered from disorders of the main sections of Chapter V of the ICD-10. In the second stage these were then sent to diagnostic assessment in the Eastern European countries of Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Russia and the West European countries of Denmark, Switzerland, German and the UK, who made independent diagnostic and clinical assessments. In the third stage all the information collected was sent to five sets of commentators who wrote a brief commentary on the similarities and difference in diagnoses and treatment, the main points can be learned from the discussion of these case histories.
Psychiatrists in central Asia, Eastern European countries and Western European countries reached similar diagnoses on the basis of case histories presented to them. There were however differences in treatment proposed as well as in the assessment of prognoses.
The use of casebooks as an educational tool to introduce a new classification or to improve its use will be discussed.