REC EHR Request for Information

I know a good number of my readers are EHR vendors and so I thought it worthwhile to post the REACH REC’s Request for Information for EHR vendors. Here’s the information from the email I received:

The Regional Extension Assistance Center for Health Information Technology for Minnesota and North Dakota (REACH) is issuing a request for information to help fulfill our common mission to assist providers in their efforts to achieve meaningful EHR use in pursuit of healthcare quality and efficiency improvements.

This RFI is the first step in a process intended to select a group of primary care, ambulatory EHR vendors to be designated by REACH as “preferred.” Through the establishment of this preferred vendor program, REACH intends to maintain ongoing, healthy competition between  participating vendors but at the same time will establish a number of ground rules and standards that will make the vendor selection process more efficient and effective. The vendors that apply for this “preferred” designation should approach this project with a willingness to be judged based on accurate contract, functionality and price differentiation.

Please visit the REACH web site to download the full Request for Information.  The response to this RFI is required by 5:00 PM on Monday, August 23, 2010.  All questions should be directed tovendors@khareach.org at least one week prior to the RFI response date.

Check the web site often as answers to questions deemed useful to all respondents will be posted there.

Thank you in advance for your interest and participation in this important initiative!

Nice to see that at least one REC is trying to get the word out about their EHR selection process instead of the process that I’ve seen coming out of many RECs where EHR vendors don’t even know their doing an RFI.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

4 Comments

  • From the above …

    “Through the establishment of this preferred vendor program, REACH intends to maintain ongoing, healthy competition between participating vendors but at the same time will establish a number of ground rules and standards that will make the vendor selection process more efficient and effective.”

    I know what BobbyG has said on more than one occasion … but again I wonder how a REC can “maintain healthy competition” … being staunchly vendor neutral … and then incorporate in its criteria a “willingness to be judged based on … price differentiation”.

    Maybe his HealthInsight is doing this differently than the folks in MN/ND … or the folks in CA. If you read CalHIPSO’s RFP (no RFI for them) … you’d think they were buying the stuff.

  • Don B,
    It seems like you’re mixing RECs there. BobbyG’s REC is the only one I know that is staunchly vendor neutral. There may be others, but all of the other ones I’ve seen have had some level of vendor involvement either ignorantly or in many cases not.

  • John… Perhaps BobbyG will confirm that perspective… to which I would then salute HealthInsight for a effective and less obtrusive role than that which other RECs are taking.

    Consumer Reports provides subscribers with a feature by feature strength comparison of different brands of an appliance… listed in descending order of cost. RECs ought to provide the same summary and assist practices in sizing, sourcing, and deploying their product in order to meet MU specifications.

    To me when RECs include a price differentiation as a part of their preferred vendor assessment it inserts itself into the market acting like a buyer to the vendors. Perhaps there is an opportunity to negotiate a lower price from a vendor but if I were a vendor the only way I drop my price like RECs are talking about is if I own the market. Vendors are not going to want a REC-negotiated price on a public spread sheet right alongside their competitors.

    The priorities in the original line above “…ground rules and standards that will make the vendor selection process more efficient and effective”… is reversed. Never in business do you ever prioritize efficiency before or in front of effectiveness. RECs who are going into the vendor vesting process wanting to establish an efficient group of vendors … may result in an ineffective group of providers. I point out this mistake as an example of what happens when you have academics and bureaucrats who aren’t involved in operating a business run a government program.

    Bottom line … making an EHR decision that focuses on price before any of the operational attributes is as wrong as making the decision based on getting an MU stimulus check.

    Businesses make corporate capital equipment and system decisions based on requirement and capabilities and once cost is established by the principals negotiating with the providers (not middle men) then businesses look to see how they will finance the acquisition. Amateur business ‘experts’ at the REC will fail their clients if they think it’s any other way.

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