The 500 Question Functional Checklist

Maybe I’m having a bad Monday but I just received the third RFP/RFI in the last week with over 500 questions and I am wondering why.

Its not that we can’t answer such RFPs – and well, with nice check marks beside nearly every requirement and complete paragraphs to every narrative question.  We can (and often do) answer such RFPs but always with trepidation – both for the prospective client and us.  Why?

For us because these are so time consuming to complete.  No two are ever remotely the same, so it takes hours to complete and more hours to review.  It would be so much more effective to spend that time helping prospective customers figure out what they really need.

For the prospective customer because I don’t think these massive RFPs really help them.  They are often the product of highly paid consulting firms who seem to justify their high fees with a mountain of paper.  How do laundry lists of functions help when CCHIT already has over 1,000 functional requirements?  And more importantly, does it really help to know that a system does every single one of over 500 functions if the 10-20 functions you will be using 90% of the time don’t work well?

My suggestion:

1) Start with a list of what is really important to your practice.  Why haven’t you implemented EHR until now?  What are you afraid of?  What do you really want?

2) Make a list of the top 10-12 functions the EHR has to perform and perform WELL.

3) Make a list of no more than 20 other nice to have functions.

4) Make a list of the other things are really important to you, such as Customer Support, length of time in business, certification, contract, specialty, etc.

You now have your RFP and its less than 50 questions.

C Huddle, VP, Market Development