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Reading RFPs by the Numbers

May 24, 2011
by Bobbie Byrne, M.D.
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A numeric perspective of an EHR request for proposal

Sitting on my book shelves immediately across from my desk are thick binders. They are the printed copies of the written information that we received from the vendors that we asked to respond to our request for proposal and quotation. Our entire scoring mechanism is trying to put words into something numeric so here is my pass at RFPs by the numbers.

6: The number of vendors involved.

5: The number of vendors who questioned if this was a fair evaluation when they heard that Epic was involved.

14 ½: The height of the binders when stacked on top of each other.

3: The number of times I swore out loud when the binders toppled on my pinkie when trying to stack them for measurement.

101: The number of readers from across the organization.

1,616: The calculated combined number of hours spent reading in the organization. I wanted to do the follow up calculation to determine the dollar cost to the organization for all this reading time, but thought that it would make my CFO clutch his chest.

36: The number of cups of coffee I consumed while reading. Not kidding—I really like coffee.

5: The number of trips to the bathroom while reading.

1: The number of Sharepoint collaboration sites set up to manage the information for the readers

3: The number of users who preferred the Sharepoint site over emailing back and forth

36: The combined number of times that the word “partner” or “partnership” showed up in the Executive Summaries of the proposals.

13: The number of times the one vendor used the word “partner” or “partnership” in their executive summary.

0: The number of times another vendor offered partnership in their executive summary. (I am thinking that they already have so many
customers that they don’t need to offer much)

58: The average page count sample master agreement provided by the vendors.

0: The chance that our lawyers would accept their master agreement anyway.

99 1/4: The highest recommended number of people in IT to implement their system.

52: Our current IT applications staffing level.

11: On a scale of 1-10, my personal desire to make sure this process really works for this organization. (Does the dial go to eleven?)

And finally the one number that everyone wants to know—the price—is ...the subject of another upcoming blog.



Bobbie Byrne

Vice President for Health Information Technology at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill

Bobbie Byrne M.D. writes about being a community hospital CIO all the while trying to figure out...