The basics of writing an RFP for a new content management system usually include the following:
- An outline of the project scope
- A list of desired features
- A list of systems to integrate with
But when it comes to writing an RFP for a new hospital or health system CMS, this basic formula overlooks a crucial element – the ability to maintain pace with the rapidly evolving digital healthcare landscape.
As is the case with many industries, digital disruption is rapidly transforming healthcare. But where, say, the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) or QSR (quick service restaurants) industries have in recent years invested heavily in personalization, omnichannel and digital marketing strategies, hospitals and health systems are playing catch up.
This means that a patient’s frictionless and connected digital experiences in the world outside of healthcare often don’t carry over to their experience once they arrive at a hospital website. But patients now expect the hospital and health system experience to keep pace as technology changes, adapting to incorporate things like new wearable technologies, and new ways of engaging and sharing information.
Macro trends like rising healthcare costs, the shift to Value-Based Care and the growing ubiquity of connected devices – including the associated Personal Health Information (PHI) security concerns – are all pushing patients to become more savvy “health-sumers”.
Because of this, there is even more pressure to have a future proof CMS and a website to support your long-term goals of boosting patient conversion, providing more personalized interactions, and delivering a lasting continuum of care. Not only does your CMS and website need to synthesize the disparate parts of your existing digital ecosystem – the CRM, EHR, and marketing automation systems – but it also needs to be flexible enough to adapt and augment new systems brought about by the seismic shifts currently underway.
The same goes for your chosen vendor.
Long gone are the days of simply asking vendors for a better looking site that integrates with existing backend systems. With so much change, overhauling, or worse scrapping, that shiny new CMS in 2 years because it isn’t flexible enough to accommodate the rise of wearable technologies, or incorporate that latest, must-have marketing automation tool, is a real possibility.
That’s why it’s so important to Think (and buy) Long-Term.
- Ask prospective agencies to explain, in detail, how they propose to build your new CMS (and website) with the future in mind – not just answer the immediate ‘need for a new website.’ Better yet, is the prospective agency talking about and/or demonstrating a multi-year roadmap without you even asking for it?
- Come pitch day, really ask yourselves, do the prospective agencies view your new CMS as part of an evolving ecosystem of connected devices and interactions or are they just dazzling you with shiny design work for a new website front end?
- Request case studies and proof of the ability to deliver highly secure and complex platforms and integrations that are future-ready and extensible. Be sure to not only look for experience in healthcare, but make sure that your digital agency has cross-industry expertise that they can apply to healthcare. After all, the ultimate judge and jury of your healthcare CMS is not you, but your patients and staff. And we know those patients are behaving more like consumers.
- Last but not least, quantify your long-term goals with specific KPIs. Whether it’s Average Wait Times, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores or Patient and Physician Referrals, your CMS investment needs to be moving the needle in a meaningful way.