Watch out for these red flags from your EHR RFP responses

Half of EHR implementations fail to provide the benefits expected by the implementing organization by either problem related to design or selection according to recent statistics. The latter reason can be avoided by an organization using a thorough selection process that includes the use of RFPs as an information gathering tool.

An EHR vendor’s RFP response should provide insight regarding the vendor’s product but also provide valuable information regarding the vendor from a business perspective. Selection teams should be aware of red flags from vendor EHR RFP responses that may indicate prospective problems with doing business with a vendor.

Although there is certainly a wealth of red flag issues to watch out for, the following three describe some of the more common areas of concern among selection teams.

The vendor delivers their RFP, not in your requirements format

An RFP is not a forum in which the vendor should be allowed to provide the information they feel is relevant to their proposal as a substitute for information which your selection team requires to make an informed selection. As such, an RFP response should, at a minimum address the information being requested by your selection team. After adequately answering any questions required of the vendor it is acceptable for the vendor to provide additional information that may be relevant to the decision-making process.   

No references

A vendor who is unable or unwilling to provide references likely does not have favorable references or does not have adequate clients who can provide references. If a vendor fails to provide references, it is essential to avoid the inclination to remove the vendor from your pool of possible candidates. If your selection team encounters a vendor who has not provided references a quick follow up may be to determine why they have failed to do so. With a follow-up, your selection team can quickly determine if the vendor is trying to gloss over a bad track record or is new to the market and does not have a client base from which to obtain references. In the case of the latter one should not automatically disqualify the vendor from consideration.

Ambiguous responses

When a selection team designs an RFP, it is done in a way to elicit specific information from vendors. With the information collected from RFP responses, your selection team can them move forward in the selection process. Therefore, a vendor who is unable to provide specific, clear responses may indicate one of two possible issues. Firstly, they may be avoiding providing this information to hide any shortfalls in their product or service. Secondly, it may be an indication of a vendor whose approach to working with customers is one which focuses less on providing the customer what they want, but rather what best suits the vendor. In either case, these are red flags which should prompt a selection team to remove a vendor from consideration.  

Your selection team may encounter several red flags when navigating the RFP process the issues outlined above should be a reason to take note that the vendor may not be the right fit for your organization.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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