Periodically all medical companies face equipment replacement or have to find a supplier for new apparatuses. Finding and selecting a vendor who would be able to meet all specific demands of medical organizations and provide the necessary appliances for a reasonable price is no easy matter. To find the company best suited to address the medical organization’s requirements, medical institutions issue a request for proposal (RFP) – the first and crucial step in securing a company’s services. This paper discusses the concept of RFP, its components and specifications and gives an insight into who should be involved in its development.
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The notion of RFP came into existence to facilitate vendor choice on the part of companies or organizations. As Wager, Lee, and Glaser state, “The RFP provides the vendor with a comprehensive list of system requirements, features, and functions and asks the vendor to indicate whether its product or service meets each need” (Wager et al., 2017, p. 155). RFT is usually highly comprehensive and comprises the organization’s expectations and criteria for evaluating proposals so that the selection procedure is clear to all counteragents.
Preparing RFP is a complicated procedure, which involves the collaboration of different specialists. Heads of medical departments specify what functions this or that equipment need to perform, while health care IT consultants elaborate the issue in detail, including software and programming required for stable work of different apparatuses (Marks, 2019). Apart from sections completed by the medical organization, there are sections to be filled by the vendor. These sections are highly detailed so that the medical organization can have a clear image of a vendor’s reliability and the quality of services provided.
The RFP part filled by a medical organization usually includes organizational background, which comprises an overview of the organization, and technical inventory, such as the size of the facility and the equipment and software currently used. Then there is a large section of requirements, which includes all the specifications of the needed equipment in terms of hardware and software, and system goals (Wager et al., 2017). After that, there are instructions for vendors concerning the proposal deadline and confidentiality statement. Moreover, the medical organization develops evaluation criteria and payment schedules and states its responsibilities and those of a vendor (Rajbhoj et al., 2017). In case of contract violation, there are usually some sanctions stated in this section. The part filled by a vendor comprises the vendor’s background, experience in production and installation of these or those systems, and insight into how his company’s equipment will contribute to the overall organizational goals.
Being a highly detailed document, RFP has some drawbacks. In its preparation and further elaboration by IT specialists, the focus may shift from overall organizational goals to cumbersome details. Moreover, if there are too many vendors willing to propose their services, the selection process may become very time-consuming. However, the merits of this instrument outweigh the potential disadvantages. Using RFP, health care organizations may form a clear image of a vendor in terms of reliability and quality of services rendered, thus filtering out inadequate bids. Moreover, it introduces competition, making companies prioritize the quality of services over other issues. Finally, RFPs help to reduce the level of monopoly on the part of giant companies, thus giving smaller vendors a chance to show themselves.
Wager, K.A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. P. (2017). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management (4th ed). Jossey-Bass.
Marks, H. (2019). Writing a request for proposal (RFP). In Handbook of Server Management and Administration 1999 (pp. 8-1). Auerbach Publications.
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Rajbhoj, A., Nistala, P., Kulkarni, V., & Ganesan, G. (2019, February). A RFP system for generating a response to a request for proposal. In Proceedings of the 12th innovations on software engineering conference (formerly known as India software engineering conference) (pp. 1-9).