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An inside look at an IT contract.

Client: Saint Vincent Health System, Erie, PA.

Services: Infection control surveillance software.

Winning Vendor: TheraDoc.

Driver: Pennsylvania state law requiring reporting of hospital-acquired infections. Saint Vincent needed vendor to supplement its existing infection control database.

Number Vendors Considered: Three, including MedMined (now Cardinal Health) and Premier.

Evaluation Tools: In-person demos, site visits, and reference checks. Used 10-item scorecard to evaluate features, including interfaces and free text and networking ability. "TheraDoc was the clear winner," says Howard Nadworny, MD, director of the infection control program and a search team participant.

Why TheraDoc Won: Ability to collate information needed, says Nadworny. "The three vendors were quite different in capabilities."

Terms: Three-year contract.

Quality Trumps Price: The search team did not consider only the cost of the software, Nadworny recalls. Another group negotiated the contract after the search team recommended TheraDoc. "We wanted to find the best program, rather than trading off support for cost," he says.

Gary Baldwin

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