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County Health Entity Seeks Information on Contract Solution

In a Request for Information, the public health department at the consolidated city-county of San Francisco wants to learn more about an electronic contract management system.

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A health entity at one of California’s major local governments is seeking information from IT vendors on electronic contracts.

In a Request for Information released Monday, the consolidated city-county of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health (DPH) is calling for details from private-sector vendors for an Electronic Contract Management System (eCMS). DPH seeks information on “options for the development and implementation of a standardized and centralized eCMS supporting all DPH divisions/sections.” Among the takeaways:

  • Entities that would use a new eCMS would include DPH’s business office, which handles contract management, approval processes, data collection and reporting, document storage, and annual program review. The office also handles more than 300 “Community-Based Organization contracts that serve as an extension of DPH’s services,” and more than 500 contracts a year that support DPH internal operations. The department also does annual performance monitoring and sees “multiple contract data/information reporting requirements/requests” in a year, according to the RFI.
  • Generally, DPH’s business office is looking to implement a centralized, comprehensive eCMS with three main components: request form development of “forms used to initiate various contract-related processes”; contract flow management of “programmed workflows and tracking”; and vendor management of “profile data and contract document storage.” The vision for the future is that these three components are de-siloed and information is linked. But these business requirements are only the minimum, DPH said, adding that it would like to “better understand how industry firms and organizations manage these types of contract forms, flows, and vendors.”
    “With these capabilities, it is anticipated the request form development and process will become more efficient through improved communication, reduced timelines, full transparency, and standardized data fields,” according to the RFI.
  • More specifically on request form development, it’s “the data entry, routing, tracking, and approval of request forms that initiate a larger process.” The department wants to move from paper to electronic data entry, routing, approval and flow, and it sees the likely impact as improving communication and efficiency as well as visibility and transparency into “contract activities, timelines, and key dates and events.” The move would likely also eliminate redundant information entry and error via standardized data fields. DPH’s goal on contract flow management is transitioning current flows to “an electronic routing and status tracking system” with a single contract storage repository. It anticipates that automating contract flow will enable that single contract repository and streamline process, improving “efficiency, consistency, reporting, and control.” The department’s goal on vendor management is migrating contract and program information to a “comprehensive vendor profile” to facilitate reporting, tracking deadlines and clarifying performance expectations. It’s anticipated that doing more to report, link and track information will make the overall system more efficient.
  • DPH doesn’t specify an anticipated project cost or range or the possible term for an eventual contract — which wouldn’t be part of this process. However, in what could potentially offer some clues as to a potential contract duration, the RFI asks respondents to describe “your five-year software/solution lifecycle model, including product roadmap and update frequency” and for “a ballpark project cost for your solution over five years.” Questions on the RFI are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 30. Responses to the RFI are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 13.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.