When a healthcare facility begins the search for a new product or service, it often issues a request for proposal (RFP) to open negotiations with potential suppliers. A healthcare RFP provides information to suppliers and contractors about whatever the facility is seeking -- facility expansion, new technology implementations, installation of durable medical equipment, etc.
A successful healthcare RFP includes an outline of the project, discusses the project’s specifications, and is formatted for wide distribution and response across an industry. Definitive Healthcare tracks all varieties of healthcare RFPs, and our clients use this data to find new opportunities and expand their market reach. We've compiled the top reasons hospitals leverage RFPs in the search for a supplier or contractor.
Top 5 Use Cases for Healthcare RFPs
1. Legal/Regulatory Requirements
RFPs can be legally required depending on location. In the U.S., the healthcare RFP process may be necessary due to regulations outlined in the Sarbanes Oxley Act. This ensures that investors, i.e. healthcare facilities, are protected against fraudulent service providers as well as guaranteeing the authenticity of both the RFP and the responses from suppliers.
2. Offers equal access for large and small companies to approach the hospital
When a hospital or other healthcare facility releases an RFP, it opens the bidding process to any qualified supplier. This can be beneficial to smaller suppliers, as bidding offers equal access to a wide variety of businesses. The process also helps weed out unqualified or illegitimate suppliers by allowing a facility to compare offers from multiple companies.
3. Allows hospitals to ensure they're getting the best value
The products or services a facility seeks through an RFP becomes a product that can be easily compared across all bidding companies. Once the offers are submitted, it is easier for management and other decision-makers to justify the costs and time frame associated with the product or service they seek. Suppliers will essentially offer free consultations, educating facilities why their product or service is the best. This process can also help facilities analyze whether products or services they're already receiving came at a good value.
4. Gives the hospital leverage
Knowing that other suppliers are bidding for a facility's business puts pressure on suppliers to offer the most competitive pricing and most efficient services possible. The RFP process also establishes business relationships and sets the tone for negotiations, giving the hospital or facility the authority required to negotiate with suppliers. Facilities using RFPs have a built-in safety net, as they put forward specific requests for suppliers to which suppliers respond. If any party rescinds a promise, there is paperwork to hold them accountable.
5. Best Practice
Submitting an RFP empowers healthcare facilities to define exactly what their decision-makers want in a product or service. Suppliers that respond know what is expected of them and can customize their messaging accordingly. The process facilitates open, honest, and legitimate negotiations that allows all stakeholders to remain educated on the status of business discussions.
Healthcare RFPs by Category
Fig1 Data from the RFP Search offering within Definitive Healthcare’s Hospitals platform. Includes RFPs tracked from May to November 2019.
Fig2 Data from the RFP Search offering within Definitive Healthcare’s Hospitals platform. Includes RFPs tracked from February to August 2018.
Definitive Healthcare tracked more than 9,700 healthcare RFPs in 20 categories over the last six months, including medical equipment, physician services, consulting, and more. Definitive supplements its RFP database with additional purchasing intentions through proprietary conversations with healthcare facilities, giving our clients exclusive intelligence from a variety of hospitals and care facilities. By collecting the proposals in a single place, suppliers can filter which RFPs are most relevant to their businesses and discover new opportunities.
Some key RFP categories include:
Revenue cycle management
Electronic Health Record (EHR) & technology implementations
New building construction
As care providers continue to focus on cost reduction and care improvement, RFPs will continue to play a major role in the healthcare industry. Definitive Healthcare’s RFP database is a vital resource for healthcare industry suppliers, connecting them with providers and facilitating new sales and increased revenue.