ICD-10 collaboratives best practices

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

ICD-10 collaboratives are collections of healthcare organizations that work together to manage their ICD-10 transition projects.

These ICD-10 collaboratives have many benefits such as opening communication between organizations,  easing the transition workload and lowering prices of common services. These were explained to me by Mark Jahn, currently vice president of Atrilogy Solutions Group. He helped create the Minnesota ICD-10 Collaborative, a collection of more than 20 regional health plans and healthcare providers and is now in southern California and gathering support for a regional ICD-10 collaborative.


He has examined ICD-10 collaboratives in Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin. While those collaboratives are different in many ways, he came up best practices for successful ICD-10 collaboratives:

Secure executive buy in

In Minnesota, Jahn started with the leaders of three major health plans. Getting them on board early gave the idea of a collaborative credibility and made it easier to talk to other parties about it.

Identify a host organization early

An organization such as a professional or hospital association would have access to healthcare professionals and possibly provide funding. I could see it also adding credibility to the effort.

Start with core group and expand

Small group dynamics make start up efforts much easier. You can still gather feedback from many sources. But starting simple will help create a strong foundation that can support an expanding membership.

Recruit CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) obviously has a lot of expertise to share. Some state collaboratives found CMS representation to be valuable.

Bring outside speakers

Experts in various areas can add a lot of education to meetings.

Recruit a broad base

Healthcare payers, providers and vendors are obvious members of any ICD-10 collaborative. They all have a lot to gain through education and communication. But professional organizations and associations have a place too. They may already be doing part of the work. And they have access to professionals the collaborative wants to reach.

Define clear mission and goals

Don't forget realistic. Any organization needs to understand what it needs to do. It will keep members and work groups focused on getting tasks done.

 Someone needs to pay

A host organization(s) often funds the ICD-10 collaborative. Except in Minnesota and North Carolina. Those ICD-10 collaboratives charge membership fees and are "substantially" ahead in their ICD-10 preparation, according to Jahn. The Minnesota ICD-10 Collaborative was created after organizers hired Jahn's firm (before he worked for Atrilogy) to create the collaborative.

Professional associations traditionally rely on volunteers to keep the organizations running. For the most part this works very well. But when members pay for services and access, that creates accountability.

This doesn't mean volunteers aren't effective. But fees and sponsorships can buy a higher degree of accountability. And in the case of the ICD-10 transition and a looming deadline, that accountability might make the difference when it comes to a successful ICD-10 transition.