Creating an RFP for RTLS

WHITEPAPERS

Creating an RFP for RTLS

Deploying an RTLS solution requires commitment of both time and financial resources. To find the right solution to meet your goals and objectives, it is crucial to ask the right questions when creating an RFP. The following information is a guideline of recommended questions and information to consider to get the most comprehensive information for vendor evaluation.

Recommended Project Background Information for Vendors

Defining the Project Scope for RTLS

To begin, it is important to define the scope of the project. Vendors responding to the RFP need specific insight into your organization’s desired outcomes. Indicate the use cases you are planning to implement (i.e. asset management, clinic patient flow, emergency department flow, environmental monitoring, etc.) and your preferred rollout schedule (i.e. site-by-site or enterprise-wide).

If you have not determined specific use cases, be very clear as to your current pain points. For example, nurses spending too much time searching for equipment, your C-suite not receiving timely information about your facility’s operations, or the need to find ways to reduce expenses. You should also consider dividing your RFP into both a software and a hardware component – issuing two separate RFPs. This will allow you to pair best-of-breed solutions for each to fit your specific needs.

Evaluation Criteria

Vendors prefer understanding the evaluation criteria for the RFP. It is helpful to indicate what specific criteria will be considered when deciding who will be awarded a contract.

Sample evaluation criteria may include the following:

  • System features
  • System requirements
  • Available applications
  • Ability to integrate with existing solutions
  • Ability to integrate with multiple sensory device technologies
  • Reliability
  • Delivery and installation timeline
  • Warranty terms
  • Training and ongoing support services
  • Pricing
  • Responses to RFP questions
Site Specifications

Include detailed information about each facility for the vendors to assess when completing the RFP. Vendors often use this information in their pricing models.

Sample specifications include the following:

  • Number of buildings
  • Number of floors
  • Bed count
  • Number of operating rooms
  • Number of pieces of mobile medical equipment
  • Number of staff members
  • Number of Inpatient visits per year
  • Number of emergency department visits per year
  • Number of outpatient visits per year
  • Number of surgeries per year
  • Number of visitors per year
  • Number of environmental monitoring devices
  • Number of hand hygiene dispensers
  • Description of main applications currently in use
  • Status of your EMR implementation
  • Status of your Wi-Fi system’s infrastructure
  • Square footage
  • Age of the facility

Recommended Project Background Information for Vendors

The following categories of questions should be considered for the most comprehensive RFP response.

Vendor Company Overview

Understanding core business functions and background information about the company can provide insight into the overall success of the organization.

Sample questions include the following:

  • Provide a detailed description of your company’s core business functions
  • Specify the age of your organization
  • Specify your geographic location(s)
  • Specify total number of employees
  • Inpatient Care
  • Cath Lab Supply Tracking
  • Surgical Instrument Tracking
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Temperature/CO2 Monitoring
  • Patient Elopement
  • Oxygen Tank Monitoring
  • Infection Control/Contact Tracing
  • Staff Back-Up
  • Bed Management & Transportation
General Technology Overview

When selecting an RTLS solution, it is helpful to gain a general overview of each vendor’s technology. This will give you insight into the strengths and weaknesses of each vendor.

Sample questions include the following:

  • Describe the advantages of your solution.
  • Is there a limit to the number of assets or people your solution can support? Please describe your largest implementations to date.
  • Is the solution web-based?
  • Does the solution have a mobility component?
  • Does the solution have a web services API?
Use Case Applications

Relating to the scope of your project, it is important to have vendors elaborate on the details of their use case applications. Gaining a full understanding of each vendor’s applications will allow you to select the vendor that fits best with your desired outcomes and the ability to meet future needs of your project. While you may be starting with just one application initially, such as asset management, nearly every healthcare system desires to expand their use over time.

Sample use case applications for vendors to elaborate on include the following:

  • Inpatient Flow
  • Ambulatory Flow
  • Perioperative Flow
  • Emergency Department Flow
  • Asset Maintenance and Tracking
  • Asset Management and Optimization
  • Rental Equipment Management
  • Shrinkage Management
  • Equipment Recall Management
  • Cath Lab Supply Tracking
  • Surgical Instrument Tracking
  • Temperature Monitoring
  • CO2 and Humidity Monitoring
  • Patient Elopement
  • Hand Hygiene Compliance Monitoring
  • Oxygen Tank Monitoring
  • Proximity Reporting
  • Infection Control Monitoring
  • Bed Management and Transportation
  • Business Intelligence
Reporting, Dashboards and Analytics

To get the most out of your RTLS solution, it is critical to understand each vendor’s reporting, dashboards and analytical capabilities.

Sample questions include the following:

  • What type of data is available?
  • What time period is data available to pull reports from?
  • Describe what types of reports, dashboards, and/or analytics are available with your solution.
  • Does the solution provide Business Intelligence capabilities? If so, using which underlying technology?
  • Does the solution have ad-hoc reporting capabilities?
  • Can reports be exported to other formats?
  • Can custom reports be generated?
Integration

Much of an RTLS system’s value is derived from its ability to push/pull data to and from other systems. It is important for you to fully understand integration capabilities of each vendor in order to leverage all existing and future investments.

Sample questions regarding integration include the following:

  • In a typical implementation, with which systems do you integrate?
  • List your available integrations.
  • How much do you charge per integration?
  • Do you have API tools available for our use? If so, describe them.
  • What types of RTLS hardware does your system integrate with?
  • What types of RTLS software does your product integrate with?
Security and Data Protection

When selecting a vendor, it is crucial to understand how each vendor approaches security and data protection.

Sample questions include the following:

  • Describe all backup and recovery procedures.
  • How does your product meet all HIPAA and other security requirements?
  • What is the estimated backup time?
  • How many tiers of security are available?
Server and Workstation Requirements

It is beneficial to understand each vendor’s server/workstation requirements. Knowing what additional hardware or software will be needed is important to consider when making a final decision.

Sample questions regarding server/workstation requirements include the following:

  • What type of database system is used?
  • Specify all server requirements.
  • Specify workstation hardware requirements.
  • Does your solution run in a Virtual Server (VMware) environment?
  • Does your architecture support high availability?
  • Does your architecture support disaster recovery?
  • Specify supporting applications that must reside on the workstation.
RTLS Hardware Specifications

There is a wide variety of granularity and accuracy levels provided by RTLS hardware vendors. The “who is best” answer depends entirely on your use case requirements, your facility, your long-term goals and your budget. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that the RTLS hardware you select can accomplish your desired outcomes. It is beneficial to ask your software vendor to provide you with their analysis of the pros and cons of each technology as applied to your requirements and use cases.

Sample RTLS hardware questions include the following:

  • Describe the locating technology used by your RTLS hardware.
  • How many different locating technologies are supported by your tags?
  • How do your tags use our 802.11 Wi-Fi network?
  • Describe the granularity of your RTLS hardware (i.e. room-level, bed-level, etc.).
  • Describe the accuracy of your RTLS hardware (what percentage of time the location of a tagged asset/person is determined correctly).
  • Describe any wiring requirements for your RTLS infrastructure.
  • What is your largest deployment in terms of total number of tracked tags in a single hospital?
  • For any devices that are battery-powered (including monitors and tags, for instance), what is the battery life for each such device? Note: given the wide variety of battery-life estimations and models from different hardware vendors, it can be very helpful to create an apples-to-apples comparison situation by asking each vendor to state battery life under a fixed condition. For instance, assuming a constant and continuous 6-second reporting rate for each tag, how long will the battery last?
Implementation of an RTLS

It is necessary to understand how experienced each vendor is with implementing RTLS solutions, to ensure the project is delivered both on time and on budget.

Sample questions regarding implementation include the following:

  • What project management tools and methodologies do you use when implementing a solution?
  • Describe staffing roles you will provide for implementation.
  • Describe the staffing you suggest we provide for implementation.
  • How many hours of implementation services are included in the proposal?
  • Will your staff be on-site for go-live?
  • Do you collect pre- and post-implementation benchmarks?
  • How long does it typically take to implement your solution?
Upgrades/Enhancements

It is helpful to understand each vendor’s commitment to ongoing enhancements of their solutions.

Sample questions to help distinguish which vendor is most committed to the future of their solution:

  • How often are upgrades provided?
  • How are upgrades/enhancements applied?
  • How can product suggestions be submitted?
Training

The success of the project is dependent on how familiar your staff become with the deployed solution. Ask vendors to share their change management methodology and training tools, along with their training plan for initial roll-out and ongoing end-user training and support.

Sample training questions include the following:

  • What types of training are available?
  • Describe the recommended skill set for a system administrator.
  • Describe the recommended skill set for a super user.
  • Describe training for system administrators.
  • Describe training for super users.
  • Describe training for end users.
  • Will there be additional costs for training?
  • Is training to be provided on- or off-site?
  • How many days does the vendor provide for on-site training?
  • What type of online training is available?
ROI Analysis

As with any IT investment, an RTLS project should have a return on investment evaluation. For each of your desired use cases, you should identify the expected impact areas, including financial, quality, regulatory compliance and satisfaction.

Sample questions regarding ROI analysis include the following:

  • Calculate the potential ROI (and whether it’s a hard-dollar ROI or soft-dollar ROI).
  • How do you monitor the KPIs and achieved ROI over time? How frequently?
  • Do you provide assistance with measuring ROI?
  • Identify one or two KPIs for each desired use case and each impact area.
Ongoing Support and Maintenance

It is inevitable with any IT project that your team would, at some point, need technical assistance from your vendor. Therefore, it is critical to select a vendor with processes in place to provide you with excellent customer service.

Sample ongoing support questions include the following:

  • Describe how you support your customers post go-live.
  • Describe your support model.
  • Describe after-hours coverage and associated cost.
  • Describe the process of problem resolution.
  • Provide a copy of the support and maintenance agreement.
  • What are the committed response times for support tickets?
Pricing/Licensing

Pricing and licensing are crucial components of the RFP. Understanding how the RTLS solution is licensed and priced will help you understand the initial and ongoing costs of the solution.

Sample pricing/licensing questions include the following:

  • Provide a copy of the license agreement.
  • What additional charges can be expected after go-live?
  • How is the product priced? Is it based on:
    • Use cases?
    • Number of licensed beds?
    • Number of tags?
    • Square feet?
    • Number of users?
  • For hardware vendors, are you open to participating in an electronic, real-time, reverse auction bidding process?
  • What does each license actually provide?
  • Is there a limit on concurrent users or on total users?
  • What costs are associated with integrations and additional development services?
  • How is the product licensed? Is it based on:
    • Number of users?
    • Number of workstations?
    • Number of facilities?

By considering the information in this document while creating an RFP, you will have the framework for a successful vendor evaluation process and subsequent RTLS deployment.

Resources

How HCA Enhances the Patient Experience Using RTLS

Hospital Corporation of America uses the implementation of RTLS to enhance the patient experience.

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