Everything you need to know about healthcare RFPs

Written by
Wendy Gittleson
Wendy Gittleson
Updated on
  4 min read

With an aging population, it might not surprise you to learn that healthcare is the fastest-growing industry in the world. It’s no coincidence that insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and other healthcare organizations also have the fastest-growing demand for products and services.

To help ensure all vendors meet their budgets, timelines, and other requirements when purchasing those products and services, healthcare organizations, like those in other industries, issue requests for proposals (RFP).

What is a healthcare RFP?

A healthcare RFP is a way for buyers to collect and organize necessary information for evaluating potential vendors. RFPs are structured in a questionnaire format, giving organizations a clear, side-by-side comparison of the prospects bidding on the project. Most importantly, each new RFP is an opportunity for new suppliers and vendors to win new business.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the unique challenges with healthcare RFPs and best practices to benefit both buyers and vendors.

Elements of a healthcare RFP

A healthcare RFP should include:

  • The project background and an overview of the problem
  • The ultimate project goals
  • Description of needed goods or services and budget
  • The RFP timeline and vendor deadlines
  • RFP decision requirements including qualification, submission and evaluation criteria
  • The organization’s terms, conditions, and regulatory requirements
  • A vendor security questionnaire (although that might fall later in the buying cycle)

Types of healthcare RFPs

The most common types of healthcare RFPs include:

  • Professional services and consulting
  • Medical and surgical equipment
  • Facilities and maintenance
  • Healthcare information technology (HIT) systems
  • Laboratory and research services
  • Medications and pharmaceuticals
  • Support services and staffing

How to issue and manage healthcare RFPs

Issuing and managing an RFP happens in a simple three-step process.

1. Creation

Identify the issue, assess specific needs, and define the scope of a project. Understanding the core of the issue will enable an understanding of what the best solution is. Collaborate with stakeholders to prioritize the factors that will help you make your final selection.

Before writing your RFP, select prospective vendors, conduct research, and explore industry trends to ensure relevancy when drafting your RFP.

Using feedback from your internal teams, your research, and the background you’ve learned, you can draft your RFP.

2. Administration

Whether you issue your RFP publicly or to a select group of prospective participants will depend on the regulations that govern your procurement process.

During the question and answer period, collect and collate any necessary clarifications, providing uniformed questions to all prospects to ensure fairness.

3. Evaluation

Review your collected RFP responses and start by reviewing them for compliance. Next, ensure that vendors meet the stated minimum requirements. After that, score sections that contain closed-ended questions. An RFP software solution can save time by scoring automatically.

Engage SMEs and stakeholders for more complex response evaluation before making your final selection. An RFP management platform can simplify side-by-side comparisons when making a decision.

3 tips for responding to a healthcare RFP

  1. Create and optimize a content library – Cut down on repetitive work by saving and organizing past RFP questions and responses, as well as templates. Proposal software can centralize your knowledge base and automate your workflow by suggesting answers to previously seen questions.
  2. Streamline SME collaboration – A content library can help you complete as much of the proposal as possible before sending it to your SMEs. By suggesting potential answers based on past proposals, you lighten the SMEs’ load and complete RFPs in less time.
  3. Only answer RFPs you can win – Consider RFP deadlines, available resources, requirements and deal-breakers. A powerful software tool can facilitate bid or no bid decisions.

Improve efficiency by removing emails from the response process

RFPIO seamlessly integrates with most of the tools you might use to send and receive RFPs, including five CRMs and four communication apps.

Scale your response process as industry and customer needs change

RFPIO’s AI-enabled Content Library lets admins and approved users quickly update stored messaging to simplify adapting to changing market needs.

Keep your content current

Built-in curation tools quickly help you create content review cycles, find duplicate content, and flag posts that need review.

Ensure regulatory compliance

Embed compliance reviews right into your workflow to make sure all content is compliant and simplify security questionnaires.

Healthcare companies respond faster with RFPIO

RFPIO is the response management platform of choice for leaders in the healthcare industry.

The key area we’re seeing success with RFPIO is being able to handle multiple RFPs at the same time. There’s no way we could have simultaneously responded to 16 RFPs with a two-person team if we were still using a manual process.

Learn from the experts on response

Healthcare procurement and fulfillment is complex with multiple regulatory requirements. RFPIO is a tool designed to streamline the process by helping proposal professionals navigate complexities, enabling them to craft clear and compelling documents.

Schedule a demo. We’ll demonstrate how RFPIO might help you focus on the most important parts of your job and safeguard compliance.


Wendy Gittleson

Wendy has more than 10 years experience as a B2B and B2C copywriter. She developed a passion for writing about tech from living in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for a technology school. From there, she transitioned to writing about everything from SaaS to hardware and cloud migration. She is excited to be part of the wonderful team at Responsive and looks forward to playing her part in building the future. Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.

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