Writing a Successful RFP in Healthcare

What is the purpose of RFPs in healthcare?

A healthcare RFP is a document created by healthcare authorities or governments to find suitable vendors for specific healthcare projects. Creating an effective RFP in healthcare can be a daunting task, but not one that can’t be improved and simplified. With the assistance of RFP creation software and the inclusion of some key strategies, you will be able to find the perfect vendors to suit your needs.

Purchasing in healthcare

Understanding the industry and its many changing trends is essential when creating an RFP in healthcare. The screening process of vendors is crucial to finding the right one, and it is critical to do research in advance of putting out your RFP. Many companies make a list of desirable vendors to approach instead of blindly opening the gate to any bidder. This initial research will also save a lot of time in the review process.

Consider some of the main sectors of healthcare:

  • Equipment
  • Medication
  • Software (see RFPs for HIT below)
  • Staff
  • Support services

These alone can feature many different market leaders who will be suitable for your needs. You will need to decide on the main criteria required and then assess potential vendors accurately through weighted and comparable responses.

Tailoring RFPs for HIT

Healthcare information technology (HIT) is the management of health information among all users of the healthcare system including consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors. The use of RFP in healthcare is a growing requirement for the project management of such systems. Roughly 90 percent of US hospitals utilize HIT systems.

The combination of software needs and healthcare requirements means that your RFP needs to consider the following:

  • Stakeholder engagement from executive and clinical leadership
  • Vendors that are experienced with financial viability
  • Workflow design that integrates an EHR or other HIT projects with a hospital's existing clinical workflow
  • Ongoing support and full financial commitment to effective HIT implementation (including hardware, software, and connectivity plus training)

Doctors sitting around the table and interpreting x-ray image

Creating and delivering an RFP in healthcare

A request for proposal (RFP) is designed to explain your needs for a particular product or service and allow potential vendors to bid for your business. The way you construct your RFP will determine how quickly you find the correct vendor.

It is crucial to include:

  • Clear and direct questions that explain your needs and allow for comparable answers
  • Any background information about your business and its requirements
  • The scope of work and deliverables and objectives
  • Time constraints and deadlines
  • Budget
  • Criteria for selection

Researching vendors

As previously mentioned, identifying ideal vendors will not only help you find the right one, it will save a lot of time in the review process. There are online resources that will identify leading providers in particular fields that can help you. Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs) and Supply Chain Associations at the federal and state level should also be consulted for preferred vendors, existing contracts, and any shared services your organization falls under.

Once you have compiled a shortlist of ideal vendors and approached them with your RFP and posted your RFP to healthcare RFP databases, the review process itself can be tailored to identify the winning bids.

Effective review

RFP software, such as DirectRFP®, simplifies the review process to save you time and find the vendor that is best for you.

The following features of the software assist the review process and put a big smile on the face of your procurement officer:

  • Customized weighting
    Allowing you to edit the rankings of particular responses and see which vendor scores higher when different categories are given more importance.
  • Measurable responses
    Multiple choice answers and direct questioning to ensure that responses refrain from being too broad or long-winded for easier comparability.
  • Instantaneous results analysis and tracking
    In-depth analytics and reporting, are also of assistance for audit purposes. Analyze via the software to reduce printing costs.
  • Document upload and share functions
    Upload documents to a digital database to edit and share, and assign review tasks to different departments and stakeholders within the one platform to uphold timeframes and milestones.

Tailoring RFPs for Healthcare Information Technology

Further benefits of RFP software

DirectRFP® is a tool that will significantly assist in the creation of any RFP in healthcare. The question library feature means RFP creation is made simpler as your procurement officers utilize existing data to build RFPs.

The major benefits for procurement officers include:

  • Assistance in creating exact and measurable responses
  • Complete transparency and audit trail
  • 100% instantaneous results analysis and real-time scoring
  • Set answers and editable weighted scoring to eliminate ambiguity
  • 60% reduction in overall completion time

Automated RFP software is a must-have tool to elicit the right responses, helping you find the right vendor for your healthcare requirement. Contact DirectRFP® today and start saving time and money in your RFP process straight away.