eHealth Ontario RFPs suddenly more expensive to access

I am information junkie and information pack rat.  I collect information on eHealth across multiple jurisdictions and store it in a database for possible future retrieval.  Thank god disk space is cheap and takes up so little room in our new condo!

One of my favorite sources of data on Canadian hospitals, health authorities, and provincial ministries of health is Request for Proposal (RFP) documents. Organizations include all sorts of otherwise hard to obtain information in an RFP in an effort to provide bidders with everything they need to submit a compliant bid. Hence, I subscribe to a number of electronic bid posting services.  One such service is MERX, a service used by the federal government and many provincial governments.  MERX offers both a “Canada Public Tenders” service for government departments and agencies (and other publicly owned institutions such hospitals and schools) and “Private Tenders” service for private enterprise and Crown corporations.

I was performing my morning ritual of scanning the various on line procurement services when I noted that eHealth Ontario has posted four RFPs on the MERX Private Tenders service.  Hmmmmm …… in the past eHealth Ontario RFPs have been posted to the Canada Public Tenders service where they can be viewed (but not downloaded) for free.   I pay about $17 a month for access tot he MERX Canada Public Tenders service and can download as many RFPs from public sector organizations as I want.  Cost to download the eHealth Ontario RFPs from the MERX Private Tenders service?  $25 per document or $150 per year to access all eHealth Ontario RFPs posted to the service.

Not sure why eHealth Ontario has shifted to using the Private Tenders service.  Perhaps the way that they are incorporated makes them ineligible to use the Public Tenders service.  A quick review of past RFPs show that they were posted through the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care or Infrastructure Ontario.  Or, perhaps, there is some additional features they get as a purchasing organization from the Private Service.  Whatever the case, downloading eHealth Ontario RFPs just to more expensive for anyone with a MERX Public Sector account.

Mike

3 responses to “eHealth Ontario RFPs suddenly more expensive to access

  1. I just wish Google could get a hold of this process. I’ve always been annoyed that we the public (who fund the majority of healthcare) have to pay for the right to access information generated by public funds. Call me naive, but hasn’t Google already proved that information wants to be free?

    Mark

  2. An interesting thought … if Google or anyone else for that matter was willing to do it for free, why not let them. Better yet, I bet google could sell advertising and actually generate some revenue for the provincial and federal governments! How about it Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. Why not make a public proposal to gov’t to take over the RFP distribution process.

    Mike

  3. The reasons for switching to Merx:

    Procurement Directives for the Government of Ontario stress Merx.

    Ministries, and their portfolios are to use Merx.

    Cheers.

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