EHR RFPs, RFIs and RFQs: what should you send when?
A thorough EHR selection process relies on a solid information gathering process.
Practices, who may not have a wealth of experience in the process of soliciting potential vendors and products for technology services such as an EHR can place themselves on solid footing by using the following information gathering tools:
- Requests for information (RFI)
- Requests for proposals (RFP)
- Requests for quotes (RFQ)
Like any other tool used in selecting a product or service it is important to ask the right questions, as the right questions can elicit the candidate responses that can make the selection process more efficient.
After you assess and identify your practice’s EHR requirements, it is important that your practice’s RFI, RFP, and RFQ contain the right information in order to generate quality responses from potential vendors. The following provides practices with top tips on what each of these information gathering tools contains.
Request for Information (RFI)
An RFI is an information gathering tool that is sent to a large, initial pool of vendors. Essentially the RFI should convey to potential vendors the detailed list of products or services that you would like to receive further information. At this point pricing information is not sought. However, a practice should convey the specific goals related to the EHR and any what features and functionality needed to achieve these goals.
Request for Proposals (RFP)
The RFP takes the information collected from the RFI and then combines information taken from preliminary research on vendors who responded to the RFI with the purpose of further reducing the list of potential candidates. According to HealthIt.gov, best practices dictate that at a minimum, an RFP should request from vendors information pertaining to their
- Organizational profile
- Implementation and training model
- Estimated total cost of ownership
- Availability for demonstrations
In summary, the RFP should be treated as an expanded version of the RFI providing in detail the required specifications of your intended purchase.
We have an in-depth guide to RFPs here, including a template structure for your vendor demos
Request for Quotes (RFQ)
Upon receiving the responses to the RFI and RFP, and the responses have been evaluated using objective criteria an RFQ should be generated An RFQ is a tool used to solicit quotations for vendors EHR product or service. The goal of an RFQ is to obtain an itemized list of all prices for products and services related to an EHR purchase. Typically, the RFQ will contain a list or table of each feature or functionality the practice would need. The vendor would then be asked to determine if they can meet this requirement and the cost of fulfilling this requirement. The goal of the RFQ is to provide a practice a clear answer as to whether a vendor can meet a practice’s requirements and offer, with certainty, the cost of providing this product or service.
The information obtained using the information gathering tools discussed above will only produce quality, actionable information if a practice asks the right questions. By making certain these requests contain the information that reflects your practice’s needs not only will more quality responses will be returned, but you’ll also be able to save time in the process.
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