Stop The Insanity!
RFPs for Healthcare Contract Management

By Thom Davidson

Contract Management Software and RFPs

As you probably know, an RFP is a document that solicits a proposal, often made through a bidding process. While RFPs are generally created with good intentions, there are some major drawbacks to the process that can end up costing you time, money, and aggravation.

The structure of the RFP and associated response can be quite extensive. Most RFPs sent to software vendors are pretty standard, sharing information about the purpose, scope of work, evaluation and bid process as well as requesting your firm’s profile, responses to each of their selection criteria, prices, client lists, strategic approach and often some history of similar projects. We have received RFPs that are 10 pages and some that are well over 100 pages.

In my example, our goal is to select the best healthcare contract management system that addresses your needs and fits your budget/timeline.

  • Preparing RFP, selecting vendors to respond, then evaluating the results have several inherent problems:
    • One to six months for preparation is not unusual.
    • Cost both in time and labor.
    • RFP format might prohibit a more innovative approach.
    • Committees are often part of the evaluation process. Committees - need we say more?
    • Exhausting demonstrations and confusion from one vendor to the next.
    • Delayed implementation.
  • Why top vendors might not respond:
    • Other opportunities that can be completed in a fraction of the time and expense.
    • The investment to respond, travel, present and negotiate can be brutal.
    • Inside track is one exception. If they have the inside track, why have an RFP?
  • Other vendors might submit a response:
    • Until they discover the need to do backflips with the hopes of making the short list.
    • Shortlist participants are making it to the playoffs. Unfortunately, there is no compensation or ring for second place.
    • Last minute responses might simply be low ball bidding for an inferior solution.

So, what is a more efficient method for selecting your healthcare contract management software?

  • Start by narrowing your candidates to a manageable number.
  • Do some research; ask other hospitals about their experience.
  • Review the vendor’s websites in detail. Reputable vendors are more than pleased to share the details of their offering. If not, skip them.
  • Make sure their product mission statement is in alignment with your needs.
  • Do they provide a BAA?
  • Validate pricing. Pricing is often available via the website. Will the vendors pricing structure fit into your budget? If not, skip them.
  • If all is good, pick up the phone or send an email request for a conversation and demonstration.
  • Be prepared to discuss your current challenges in the form of a use case so that the vendor does not just give you a generic demonstration.


You are now able to make an informed decision without wasting your hospitals time, money and frustration over the dated RFP process.