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Client: Ashland (Wis.) Memorial Medical Center and Hayward Area Memorial Hospital (part of Regional Enterprises Inc.).Service: Emergency department information system.Selection Team: 12 members from both hospitals. Issue Addressed: Needed an ED-specific system for documentation, orders and results.Winning Contract Signed: With MedHost, May 2006; five-month search.False Start: Had picked a vendor in 2005, but backtracked after due diligence and construction project intervened.Vendors Considered: RFPs to 10 vendors; eight responded, five invited for demos.Key Issue: Interface with the hospital information system from QuadraMed.Range of Bids: $100,000 to $500,000 with MedHost "in the middle," says Todd Reynolds, REI's director of information systems.Quality Before Price: Financial bids kept from search team. "They need to select what is best for the department," Reynolds says. "Then we will negotiate the contract. You do not want to tell them, 'Thanks for your work, but you can't have this one.'"Lesson Learned: "We should have involved HIM and finance more rigorously in search," Reynolds says. "They could have provided valuable insight."-Gary Baldwin

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