It was with deep sorrow that we received the news of our dear friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus Björn Smedby.
At the age of 86 he was still working regularly at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, supporting younger colleagues, working in the area of health classifications.
We received an e-mail with a wise answer on a classification matter as late as 5 pm the day he passed away.
Professor Emeritus Björn Smedby devoted the main part of his professional life to research in Health Care Services and classifications in health care. His work in classifications began in 1964 with the use of a Swedish Clinical Modification of ICD-7 in a pilot study of an in-patient register in the Region of Uppsala. This eventually became the starting point of a national in-patient register in Sweden. He was deeply involved in the translation and implementation of ICD-7, 8, 9, and 10 in Sweden. Björn participated in the Centre Head/WHO-FIC Annual meetings over 25 years and became the first Centre Head of the Nordic WHO-FIC Collaborating Centre, started in 1987.
At the Brazilia WHO-FIC meeting in 2012 he was awarded the WHO Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the field of classifications at the international level.
Björn Smedby was interviewed for a local newspaper in Uppsala in 2012, and described himself as “curious, hard-working and careful”. We believe that these words describe his true character very well. Moreover, we would like to add “generous, friendly and always in development” to the description of Björn. We will always remember his kind and calm voice, explaining complicated matters in an understandable way. In our hearts and minds we will preserve his motto, and try our best to follow it: “A thing worth doing is worth doing well”.
Our most sincere condolences go to his family at this difficult time.
On behalf of Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and Nordic Collaborating Center
Kristina Bränd Persson