NIH emphasizes health IT in its new $20 billion contract

The National Institutes of Health expects to award the 10-year, $20 billion contract in early 2010.

The National Institutes of Health is gearing up up take proposals on its third governmentwide information technology contract, this one with a particular emphasis on health IT reforms.

The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center said it expects to award the new Chief Information Officer—Solutions and Partners contract in early 2010. On August 4, the center released a sources sought notice and a draft request for proposals on the 10-year, $20 billion contract.

With CIO-SP3, NIH officials intend to help agencies with issues considered to be vital to the health IT reforms, specifically to provide health and biomedical-related IT services, according to the notice.

“Developing this GWAC is a key part of our new business development strategy as we prepare our organization to meet the future needs of government IT procurement,” said Robert Coen, deputy program director.

NIH wants to support researchers and clinicians by studying health care systems and services to help the systems and equipment interface with other information systems, the notice states. The services may help with the goals of the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) to make agencies' systems consistent, the notice states. FHA requires agencies to coordinate capital planning and invest in interoperable health IT. Officials also plan for the contract to include ways to make health records electronic and use IT in the molecular biology field. CIO-SP3 also will offer agencies services that support Federal Enterprise Architecture requirements, the notice states.

The contract will have 10 functional areas that include CIO support, outsourcing, IT operations and maintenance, integration services, critical infrastructure protection and information assurance, digital government, enterprise management systems, health care and biomedical research, software development and imaging.

Previously, NIH had established three GWACs to support agencies’ IT needs. The contracts supported agencies, like NIH and the Health and Human Services Department, which are involved in health care and clinical and biological research.

The center’s first two GWACs — Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 2 Innovations and the Image World 2 New Dimensions — are expiring in December 2010.

NIH also said it is planning a second RFP for a small business-only version of the new contract.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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