NIH preps wide-scale imaging pact

The National Institutes of Health last week released a request for proposals for one of the largest imaging, document management and workflow contracts in government to date.

NIH plans to make multiple awards by the end of this month for its ImageWorld contract, an estimated $100 million, five-year, task-order contract to provide imaging systems, document management and workflow solutions for agencies governmentwide.

NIH plans to make six awards: two to large companies, two to small businesses and two to 8(a) firms. Proposals, which will include oral presentations, are due July 24.

The primary reason NIH is developing ImageWorld is to help cut costs associated with creating, managing and storing the reams of memos, reports, studies, contracts, policy statements and medically based research documents that NIH's 22 institutes, centers and divisions create.

"The control you get over your work processes with this [technology] is very significant," said Suresh Shenoy, vice president of Information Management Consultants Inc., McLean, Va., earlier this year, when NIH released a draft RFP. "You want to talk about cutting waste in government, this is the way to do it."

ImageWorld is the first contract to bring new procurement innovations - such as governmentwide indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracting - to image and document management technologies, said David Lipstein, director of Market Development Services for Wang Federal Inc., which will bid as a prime on the contract.

Unlike other government imaging contracts that offer a piecemeal approach to building imaging, document management and workflow systems, ImageWorld will offer agencies an opportunity to create end-to-end imaging and workflow systems by contracting with one vendor.

"This contract is one-stop shopping and one, single-point accountability," said Gale Greenwald, contracting officer for ImageWorld.

With ImageWorld, agencies will be able to buy complete solutions that include designing a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) imaging and workflow solution, including maintenance and training services.

For example, NIH has requested vendors bid on one or more of four so-called "lots," which include COTS hardware, COTS software, and COTS solution-based systems and services.

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