3 Soliciting Bids for EHR and HIE: RFI, RFB, RFP

Section 3.4 Select
Soliciting Bids for EHR and HIE: RFI, RFB,
If you are selecting any health information technology (HIT), it is important to consider how you will
solicit bids from vendors.
Time needed: 40 - 60 hours
Suggested other tools: Section 3.1 Vendor Selection Code of Conduct, Section 3.3 EHR and HIE
Vendor Selection and Understanding the Marketplace, Section 2.9 Requirements Analysis and
Prioritization for EHR and HIE
How to Use
Use this checklist to assess your solicitation needs. If applicable, use the request for bids (RFB)
template to structure your request for vendors to send you bids on the specific electronic health
record (EHR), health information exchange (HIE) organization (HIO), or other HIT you are
interested in acquiring.
The formality of your solicitation for a bid for products and services will vary depending upon what
you are acquiring. Approaches to acquiring hardware and software, from the informal to the formal,
1. Request for information (RFI). This may be as informal as a call to a vendor to send you a
price quote for a specific product or service, or it may be a written request stating briefly who
you are and what you are looking for. In the past, the RFI was a formal request for
specifications on various products in which you are interested. Because of the widespread
availability of this information on the Web, RFIs no longer are used for this purpose. Instead,
they are a less formal approach to obtaining attention from a salesperson and a formal quote
or other materials you need have to sign up for what you are buying. You will most likely use
this approach:
a. If you are a private practice or very small clinic seeking to buy or lease input devices
and other hardware.
b. To initiate participation discussions with the single HIO in your community.
c. To request a proposal from a consultant to assist with computer hosting, IT services,
HIT vendor selection assistance, implementation support, or other consulting help.
2. Request for bid (RFB). This is a written request for product information or information on
services that the vendor can provide based upon your key requirements. Your resource for
preparing the RFB should be your Requirements Analysis and Prioritization for EHR and
HIE (see Section 2.9). You will want to supply the vendor with information on the nature and
size of your business, volume of clients, which HIOs you may connect with, etc. The vendor
needs information on your capacity requirements in order to prepare an appropriate price
quote. You will most likely use this approach:
a. If you are a small behavioral health clinic seeking to acquire an EHR.
b. To compare the capabilities of one or more HIOs in your area.
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3. Request for proposal (RFP). This is a formal, detailed document that describes all of your
requirements and requests formal, structured proposals from vendors. Any governmentsponsored provider is generally required to issue an RFP. Most large facilities prefer to use
an RFP. Although used less commonly by small facilities, the process of generating the
RFP—even if not sent to vendors directly—is well worth the effort. Additionally, you may
find that small vendors are less inclined to respond to a formal RFP.
Request for Bid
Use the following template to describe the products and services you are seeking, including any
unique requirements.
How to Use
1. Review the request for bid (RFB) template to determine if it contains information you wish to
seek from the vendors—adding, changing, and deleting as necessary. Retain or modify any
italicized examples.
2. Delete italicized notes that are intended as instructions only.
3. Complete the Cover Page and Section A prior to sending to vendors.
4. Refer to Section 3.7 Due Diligence and conduct your due diligence in reviewing vendor bids.
Re: Request for Bid for Insert Description of Product
Due Date for Response: Designate a date by which you would like a bid returned.
To: Obtain name of regional sales manager and address in your area.
From: Include the name, address, phone number, and email address of the individual in your organization
who will be responsible for all communications with vendors.
Additional Instructions for Responding to this RFB:
Include directions concerning limitations on contacting organization, number of copies of responses to be
supplied via paper and/or preference for electronic submission, instructions for vendors to request
additional information, etc.
A. Background and Information
1. Overview of Organization – briefly describe:
Number of clients per year:
Number of staff:
2. Special characteristics of your agency.
3. Overview of Current IT Environment
 Extent networked—locally/to other sites:
 Wireless capability:
 Internet Service Provider:
 Web site URL:
3. Current Application Profile
Major Applications
Impacted by this RFB
Section 3 Select—Soliciting Bids for EHR and HIE: RFI, RFB, RFP - 2
for Replacement (Yes/No)
B. Request for Bid
1. Vendor primary contact
 Name:
 Title:
 Office/location address:
 Email address:
 Organization’s Internet home page:
2. Identify the location of the following if different from above:
 Corporate headquarters:
 Field support offices:
3. Briefly describe your company in terms of number of staff; proportion of staff devoted to
sales and marketing, implementation, research and development; how long the company has
been in business; and alliances and partnerships (e.g., Do you partner with another vendor to
supply e-prescribing, drug knowledge data, report writing tools, HIE, etc?).
Product Information
1. Describe the major version history for the product being sought through this RFB, including
the release proposed for this organization and any other planned new releases.
2. How are enhancement and new release priorities determined? How are clients supported
during these releases? How much system downtime is required during these upgrades?
3. In how many organizations similar in size to our organization did you install the system you
are proposing during the last fiscal year?
1. Provide references for at least three similar organizations.
2. Supply information about (and invitation for if applicable) the next user group meeting you
are holding.
Product Requirements
Provide the following information. Sometimes this is called a table of key differentiators. You may
complete the table below or provide the information in another format. Add any additional
specifications that are unique to your product not listed.
Requirements for EHR/HIE
Functional Requirements – in addition to the typical requirements in an EHR/HIE, describe whether your
product provides:
1. Case management
2. Ability to search narrative notes
3. Compliance with state-specific
reporting requirements (e.g., Rule 29
in Minnesota)
4. DSM-5 to ICD-9-CM crosswalk
5. Appointment scheduling within EHR
6. Generation of clinical summary for
Section 3 Select—Soliciting Bids for EHR and HIE: RFI, RFB, RFP - 3
Technical Requirements
1. Supports DIRECT protocol for email
2. Interface with XXX billing system
3. U.S.-based cloud computing
Operational Requirements
1. Updates patient consent information
based on push from HIE
Transitional Requirements
1. Template for pre-load of key data
2. Incorporation of scanned documents
3. On-site training
Copyright © 2014, Margret\A Consulting, LLC. Used with permission of author.
Price Proposal
Provide—in a separate response—a pricing proposal for the software, implementation, interfaces,
and hardware as described in our profile. In the pricing proposal, specify how your products are
priced. If you do not supply certain capabilities or technologies, acknowledge these and specify any
Request for Proposal
If your behavioral health facility is interested in generating a more comprehensive RFP, see Section 3
EHR Request for Proposal from Behavioral Health Facility. This RFP template addresses both
behavioral health EHR and practice management system (PMS). Review the draft template to ensure
it meets your specific requirements, especially regarding state-specific reporting, and revise if
Copyright © 2014 Stratis Health.
Section 3 Select—Soliciting Bids for EHR and HIE: RFI, RFB, RFP - 4
Updated 03-12-14