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Mr.

Chris Mitchell
Executive Procurement Director
Chief Procurement Officer – Nova Scotia
Chris.mitchell@novascotia.ca

Re: RFP # WS53233446 – OPOR Clinical Information System – Complaint

Mr. Mitchell,

Thank you for your email of September 26, 2017 to our complaint filed August 4, 2017.

We are disappointed with the response provided and respectfully disagree with a number
of your assertions.

This is not a formal RFP and the language of the RFSQ is broad enough to justify a range of
actions. The RFSQ process is normally used to gauge interest and qualify suppliers. Evident
has been in business for 4 decades and our Clinical Information System is working
successfully in over 650 hospitals…that is more hospitals than in all of Canada.

We would contend that to narrowly interpret the clauses to eliminate vendors at this early
stage does not lend itself to finding the best partner nor does it explore the potential
opportunities a significant procurement such as this presents. As well, we cannot
understand how it could benefit the Province to short-list vendors without even seeing the
technical solution or verifying pricing.

I will address the specific points you covered in your response.

i. Clarification process followed during the evaluation phase;


ii. Page length for responses to the solicitation;
iii. Conflict of interest

Clarification process followed during the evaluation phase

Your response failed to address the following clause identified in the RFSQ:

3.2.4 Verify, Clarify and Supplement


When evaluating a response, the Province may request further information from the
respondent or third parties in order to verify, clarify or supplement the information
provided in the response. The Province will have the right to verify any information
received and, for that purpose, the respondent will be deemed to consent to and
authorize the release of such information to the Province. If required by the Province,
it may be necessary for a respondent to attend one or more clarification meetings with
the Province. The Province may revisit and re-evaluate the respondent’s response or
ranking on the basis of any such information.

If the province intended to follow the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) as
stated in your response, the RFSQ should have be prepared/written to reflect the
procurement standards. Imposing procurement standards after the RFSQ submission, only
to address a complaint, is not a fair or reasonable process. The CITT also contradicts the
process identified in the RFSQ.
Page length for responses to the solicitation

Suggesting page lengths in the RFSQ and then deciding that it really doesn’t matter, begs the
question as to why even have the suggestions in the RFSQ document at all. When you
suggest page lengths and provide a vehicle/clause to verify, clarify and supplement
information in the RFSQ (3.2.4), it is misleading to proponents. It confusing to have a clause
included in the RFSQ if there was no intent to use it.

Conflict of interest

Your response simply acknowledged that there was a rigid process in place during the RFSQ
process but makes no mention of what transpired during the lead up to the RFQS process
where activities undertaken by competitors and evaluation team members could certainly
be considered a conflict of interest within the RFSQ. This was the salient point in our
complaint, and those involved should have identified that potential and been eliminated
from the process.

As stated in our complaint, during our RFSQ debrief it was stated that evaluators could
have,

“No prior knowledge (of vendor or solution) can be considered”

Our compliant clearly and factually demonstrated that the NSHA CIO and Director of Clinical
Applications had knowledge, as well as a bias towards the two short-listed vendors.

Our competitors had access to NSHA executives. NSHA provided them with a Provincial
forum (Let’s Talk Informatics) to demonstrate their systems and bolster their value
proposition on a provincial level. This type of access also provides our competitors with
key insights into NSHA’s strategy putting them in favourable position to respond to the
RFSQ.

It is apparent that NSHA CIO and Director of Clinical Applications ignored the rigid
guidelines you suggested and did not declare a Conflict of Interest. In your response you
noted:

“No inquiries were received during the question period directly from the Respondent,
including questions regarding the scoring system, conflict of interest or response length.
Had inquiries been received prior to the deadline for questions these could have been
addressed during the process.”
I believe you are suggesting that we should have identified this Conflict of Interest prior to
the deadline for questions during the RFSQ process. The Conflict of Interest declaration in
the RFSQ is for vendors to declare if they have any Conflict of Interest. Obviously our
competitors did not identify their relationship with NSHA executives, nor does Evident
believe we should be policing the provinces evaluation team; that’s the role of procurement
and the rigid process that should have been in place.
Also, an Evident representative did reach into the DHW CIO highlighting the concern over
our competitors getting access through NSHA, “Let’s Talk Informatics” session. The DHW
CIO agreed this was an issue but was not able to stop it. Information was also submitted to
the procurement representative regarding a “Let's Talk Informatics” session during the
evaluation of the RFSQ bids. The RFSQ administrator made aware of the situation.
The purpose of the complaint process is to identify issues such as this. Suggesting that we
should have dealt with this during the process does not make sense, nor is fair or
reasonable. Conflicts no matter when identified should be acted upon.
Your response also did not address the email received from the NSHA CIO on March 21,
2016 that stated,

“ Although we are not formally in an RFP, we are not meeting with vendors at this
time. I will pass your name along to the team, and they will be in touch once it is
ready”

We confirmed with both CIO’s from ISD and DHW that there was no lock down on
communication regarding OPOR at this time, but the NSHA CIO and Director of Clinical
Applications had meetings with both Cerner and Allscripts. Any Evident requests for
meetings were rebuffed.

More recently, we learned that Paula Gallagher from Deloitte was consulted on the
innovation strategy for the Province titled 'Field Guide for Nova Scotia's Innovative
Ecosystem' developed last fall. This strategy referenced 'the economic opportunity created
by the pending introduction of the 'One Person One Record' electronic health record', as
well as other initiatives. The information is in the public domain and we trust that Deloitte
highlighted this conflict of interest.

Economic Development

Your entire response is void of any information or response on Economic Development for
the Province of Nova Scotia.

As previously stated, the decision to limit the number of vendors responding on this front,
will limit the opportunity to maximize the economic benefit options for Nova Scotia. For a
procurement of this magnitude, we feel innovation and economic benefits should have been
key components of the evaluation.

Summary

Clearly we have interpreted the purpose and process of the RSFQ very differently. We
believe the RFSQ gave the province all the flexibility required to get the best deal for the
province but based upon the rigid interpretation provided in your response, the best
outcome for the Province may be getting lost defending the process.
Warm regards,

Alan