What to include when creating an EHR request for proposal
Once you know what you require from an EHR system, you need to find a vendor that can meet these needs. In addition, you need to be sure that your vendor can give you what you want within a reasonable budget. A useful weapon in your EHR selection arsenal is an RFP (Request for Proposal) document.
What is an EHR RFP?
An RFP is simply a document asking vendors to provide information you will need to make a decision when choosing an EHR system. You outline your needs and vendors will provide you with information on their services as well as the cost of these services based on what you have provided.
What should your EHR RFP contain?
Your EHR RFP must clearly outline the goals, specialties, and clinical specifications of your practice, including the key requirements for your EHR system. Be sure to include a basic timeline that you need for submitting the proposal, in addition to the timeline you will need services initiated in your practice. If the vendors have basic, clear information about your needs, then they will be able to better describe their features for your practice.
In your RFP, request that proposals are arranged in a certain order, so that you can easily compare. You need to be able to attain and compare specific information (timeframe, cost, implementation, training etc) clearly. You do not want to be searching a document for this information.An example of something to include would be:
"EHR Requests for Proposals should contain the following:
- A brief summary of EHR system and the features
- Legal compliance features, including HIPAA and required functional coding abilities
- System requirements for technical support
- Cost for implementation and monthly/yearly dues
- Timeframe for implementation
- Training and user support options
- How this system fits well into our practice specialty"
You should also include a timeframe that you expect to follow. This way, your vendors will have an idea of proposal due dates and when you expect to implement the EHR system in your practice. Include a contact person in this document, you want your vendors to create their proposals with the clearest picture of what you need, questions will arise so give them someone to reach out to.
How a poor RFP could affect your practice
Pitfalls in implementation typically stem from poor communication of what your practice needs. If you are not clear on your EHR requirements, a vendor will not be able to decipher your practice needs. In addition, it is essential to provide realistic timeframes, as companies cannot put together a quality, custom proposal in only one day.
Finally, be sure that you request the proposals come back in an orderly and detailed manner, so you can quickly and easily compare responses. When analyzing differences between vendors, you want to be able to immediately identify your top priorities.
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