Preparing RIS/PACS RFPs & Tenders To Save Time, Hassles – And Lead to Better Results

Richard Turner, Carestream

Richard Turner, Services Manager and Program Director, Carestream Healthcare Information Solutions, Emerging Markets

Some basic “secrets to success” can alleviate the burden of having to spend considerable time answering questions and clarifying points for suppliers responding to a RIS and PACS Request for Proposal (RFP) or tender. Equally important, these “secrets” can enhance the quality of proposals submitted and can ultimately lead to a more successful RIS/PACS implementation.

That was the underlying theme of my presentation, “Writing of Request for Proposal and Tenders, Lessons and Experienced Learned from a Purchaser and Vendor Perspective,” at the recent Arab Health 2012 Congress in Dubai, UAE.

Here are some key takeaways you can apply to your next RFP:

  • Lead with goals and desired outcomes. An RFP or tender should articulate the change and benefits sought through a new RIS/PACS investment. This involves clearly stating your objectives and business case, pointing out how benefits will be realized and what will define a successful outcome
  • Create a Hospital PACS RFP Team. Often, one or two people in the Radiology department are tasked with writing a RIS/PACS RFP or tender. The resulting document, consequently, might not be optimal. An RFP team can help ensure that the needs of all relevant departments are taken into account and included in an RFP. Those departments include not only Radiology and IT, but any departments that use or touch medical images, as well as those responsible for hospital operations and capital expenditure.
  • Define your current workflow, delineating inefficiencies. And define the workflow you seek (with RIS/PACS) to maximize efficiencies, mandating that suppliers’ RFP responses demonstrate how their products/solutions will help attain this workflow. Consider the complete hospital workflow, not just Radiology. Typically, IT or other departments “own” the Hospital Information System (HIS) workflow. You need to ensure that the proposed Radiology workflow can synchronize with the HIS workflow. You’ll also need to define what you want from the integration between the HIS and RIS, the vendor should do the rest.
  • Ensure training and service are not afterthoughts. Build both into your RFP from the onset. Training: Suppliers tend to take a “cookie-cutter” approach to training. Many will offer one-on-one sessions with radiologists, for example, and “Train the Trainer” or similar methods with referring physicians and other users. Assess your own requirements and state them clearly in your RFP. The most effective training approaches are those that are specifically tailored to your organization’s needs. Service: With RIS/PACS, it’s important to tie service to uptime and to updates/upgrades. It’s also important to understand the commercial implications of different levels of service a supplier may offer. Lastly, be sure to ascertain what happens when the warranty expires. Is it extendible, etc.?

You can view my full presentation below:

Writing Requests for Proposals and Tenders

Working together purchasers and vendors can improve the tender process.

What advice would you share from your facility’s RFP experience?