;   Medical Translation Insight: Notes from Orlando: Provider selection and the RFP process - ForeignExchange Translations

It's day one at the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference. I attended an interesting workshop this afternoon on CRO selection and the RFP process. I was struck at the similarities between CRO and translation vendor selection... Here's a quick summary:

In the outsourcing environment prevalent in the pharma industry, selecting a component Contract Research Organization (CRO) is crucial. The RFP process is the most common way to find a suitable partner that fits. But the outcome of an RFP is only as good as what goes into it. This was the topic of the afternoon workshop titled, "Provider Selection and the Request for Proposal Process."

The speakers walked us through the main steps, best practices and most common failure points of RFPs. As with most things, good upfront preparation pays big dividends. Determining strategy (Why outsource? Who? How?), interviewing internal stakeholders and making sure the strategy aligns with your business model are key. Also, being honest about your company’s core competencies will help decide whom you should partner with to fill in the holes.

The actual selection process begins with the Request for Information (RFI) to gather enough information to pare down to a short list of providers. It should identify key criteria for selection, probe for information beyond sales speak, utilize open communication throughout the process and be graded with a weighted scorecard for optimal results. The short list that comes out of this RFI will be a list of a handful of companies that will then respond to the more detailed RFP for a specific study.

Clinical study RFPs are often riddled with inconsistencies and errors which can tilt the playing field and hamper an accurate analysis of responses. Table format is easiest to collect succinct, focused responses in an easily-analyzed fashion. Roles and responsibilities must be sharply defined. Working collaboratively with the responding CROs in the RFP process sets the stage for a future relationship. Remember, one of these companies will be trusted with your company's product and future. So move past the vendor selection mindset and towards a more transformative partner development. Starting with a good RFP is a great place to begin.

[ForeignExchange covers the Partnerships in Clinical Trials conference in detail. Check out our comprehensive coverage.]

For further reading on how to develop effective RFPs, take a look at Developing an RFP? 7 tips for getting the responses you want.

ForeignExchange provides specialized medical translations for clinical trial applications, protocols, informed consents, patient diaries, INDs, patient recruitment, and health economic research. Contact us for more information about our clinical translation services.


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