​The Newborn Screening Technical assistance and Evaluation Program (NewSTEPs), a program of APHL, is looking to identify a vendor to maintain and support the NewSTEPs data repository and website. APHL anticipates that the vendor will receive up to $350,000 for the services it renders over one year, with an option to extend for an additional three years.


APHL is looking for a vendor with the ability to fully perform the scope of the project with regard to updating, maintaining and supporting the NewSTEPs Data Repository and website.

The following are functional requirements and preferences that are important for applicants to consider as they develop their proposals:

  1. The interactive NewSTEPs data repository and website must meet web standards and be browser independent; it must not require any plug-ins so that it can function on any platform including mobile devices and tablets; and it must be 508 compliant.

  2. The selected applicant must work in conjunction with original developers - 5AM Solutions and Teal Media - on facilitating data repository and website transitions. APHL will facilitate this collaboration.

  3. The NewSTEPs data repository and website are currently hosted on two separate platforms and must be migrated and centralized onto one platform to enable the integration of information from both sites.

  4. The NewSTEPs team must have access to add and edit content on the Drupal website platform.

  5. The NewSTEPs team must have back end access to the PostgreSQL database for purposes of querying data.

  6. The applicant selected must have expertise in hosting, integrating and managing secure electronic databases and websites. 

  7. The NewSTEPs data repository and website must be user friendly and easy to navigate. It must utilize contemporary features described, but not limited to the requirements provided below.

  8. The selected applicant must allow for the NewSTEPs team to provide incremental adjustments and feedback. Training must be provided for staff regarding how to routinely update and manage the NewSTEPs data repository and website.

Anticipated Schedule

Applications are due by June 14, 2019. APHL may request meetings or a teleconference with the respondents prior to announcement of the selected applicant. Please review the following dates:

  • April 19, 2019   -   RFP Issued

  • May 3, 2019      -   Brief statement indicating intent to apply due by 5:00 pm ET to APHL

  • June 14, 2019   -    RFP responses due by 5:00 pm ET to APHL

  • June 26, 2019   -    Full evaluation of proposals completed and vendor notified of acceptance.

  • July 1, 2019       -    Work initiated on Data Repository and Website

Due to the expected number of responses received, APHL now anticipates making a notice of award for the NewSTEPS Data Repository and Website on June 26, 2019.  This extension gives the evaluation team additional time to thoroughly evaluate each proposal received.  All other dates remain in effect.  APHL will post any additional revisions to this site.

Letter of Intent

APHL requests that prospective applicants submit a brief email statement indicating the intent to submit a proposal no later than May 3, 2019. Although a letter of intent is not binding and does not enter into the review of the RFP, the information that it contains allows APHL's evaluation team to estimate the potential workload of the review process and plan the contract development. Potential applicants must include the name of the organization or individual that will submit the proposal in their email.

The prospective bidders must email this statement to Careema Yusuf, MPH, Manager of NewSTEPs at careema.yusuf@aphl.org with a copy to newsteps@aphl.org using the subject line, "LETTER OF INTENT: NEWSTEPS DATA REPOSITORY AND WEBSITE RFP."

APHL must receive this information by 5:00 pm ET on May 3, 2019.

Submission of RFP

Complete responses must be submitted by 5:00 pm ET,on June 14, 2019. Responses can be sent by the following methods: via email to newsteps@aphl.org or by US MAIL, Commercial delivery service or hand delivery to Careema Yusuf, MPH, APHL, 8515 Georgia Avenue Suite 700, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.

Email attachment is the preferred means of receipt. Regardless of delivery method used, all responses must be received at the APHL office by 5:00 pm ET on June 14, 2019. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the response is received at APHL by this deadline.

Responses should be limited to 20 pages of text and should include information requested in the response requirements sections of this RFP. References, charts and graphics are not included as part of the page limit.

Submitters will receive a confirmation of receipt of their response by APHL. APHL may terminate or modify the RFP process at any time during the response period. All changes to the RFP will be posted to the APHL Website. No changes will be made to the RFP within one week of the due date. Responses that are not received by the stated deadline will be determined non-responsive and may not be considered in the review of the applicant at APHL's discretion.


The Official RFP Document will provide detailed information in regards to this request, please read it on its entirety.


Applicants must direct all questions to Careema Yusuf at careema.yusuf@aphl.org with a copy to newsteps@aphl.org. Questions received from interested parties, together with the answers provided, will be posted to APHL’s procurement website (www.aphl.org/rfp).

Questions and Answers

If APHL already has two vendors engaged in this project, what is the primary motivation for bringing in a third vendor into the mix? Will one or both of the initial vendors move off of the project? If so, why?

If any of the existing vendors will be continuing, to whom will they report and what incentives will be put into place by APHL for cooperating with the new vendor who will result from this RFP?

The RFP describes the work of the new vendor as “facilitating data repository and website transitions.” Does that mean the existing vendors will transition off the project?

With respect to migration of the data repository and website to one platform

With respect to NewSTEPs staff having access to the backend database, is there a particular query tool that the staff already has or knows how to use? What type of access is required here?

There are many features described in the Required Specifications section of the RFP. Can APHL confirm whether these are all new features that do not currently exist and have to be spec’d, developed, and tested by the successful vendor, or which features already exist but may require revision or modification?

Who has ownership over (or at least commit privileges to) the current software/source code repositories? Who has ownership over the source code from new products developed under this RFP?

Who is responsible for maintenance and production support going forward once the enhancements and platform consolidation are in place?

Can non-US companies apply due to federal funding?

Will you cap the number of respondents at a certain point?

The RFP states that the current 2 separate platforms “should be centralized onto one platform and interface with one another so that the website can pull data directly from the data repository and vice versa.” When you speak of “platform”, what does that mean exactly? The physical server where the 2 applications both live needs to be the same? Or are we talking about the 2 applications will both use the ‘Drupal’ platform (I am assuming this because it is definitively stated that the website will stay in Drupal)?

Are their reasons that the 2 applications couldn’t be 1 application? For instance, we rebuild the data repository architecture and functionality into the current Drupal website system. This would eliminate the need for the systems to talk to each other and the need to have a SSO integration as there would only be one system.

Have there been any discussions about transitioning the current site and/or the data repository into Drupal 8?

What technology stack, programming language, user interface platform is the current data repository using? We understand it is using a PostgreSQL database, but how are the pages built that users interact with.

The RFP states that the current data repository must “Retain current database structure”. This seems to suggest that the repository won’t change how this application is built and runs. What are the biggest pieces of work to be done for the data repository? What of these bullets are new functionality?

Are the two incumbent vendors eligible to bid?

7. Why is APHL not hosting this project on its own AIMS website? Would it consider that as a cost-saving option for this migrated project?

Will NewSTEPS assign a project lead to manage this initiative? Will this person be the person who can complete query validations of the data? If not, do you have someone on your team to do this?

How important is this project to NewSTEPS? Is it one of many for 2019 or is it a top priority and why?

How many NewSTEPS stakeholders will be involved in making decisions and participate in meetings?

Is the data repository application in Drupal as well? It would appear to us that the PostgreSQL data from the repository is presented in a website like this page https://data.newsteps.org/newsteps-web/reports/screenedConditions/list.action. Additionally, this document https://www.newsteps.org/sites/default/files/data_repository_informational_guide_july2018_se.pdf references a “web application” under the header labeled “How is the data secured?” What platform/application (Drupal, WordPress, HTML5 etc.) is running the presentation of this data?

What version(s) of Drupal is currently running?

Drupal has both a back-end (coding and administration) and front-end (presentation of the look and feel). We understand the project is to retain the existing front-end design (look and feel) but will the selected vendor also be starting with the existing back-end code?

Drupal core is currently on version 8. Should part of this project include upgrading the website to version if it fits within the budget?

Is the current source code available for review for estimating purposes? Your Q&A says you own the source. Will the selected vendor have access to this once an agreement is in place?

Are there currently resource library groups? If so, how are they created?

Would using an iframe be adequate for the https://www.aphl.org/programs/newborn_screening/Pages/default.aspx microsite? Are you concerned at all with the overall experience of using an iframe?

Is the ColLABorate forum a custom forum or an extension/plugin?

Will the data in the mirror database need to be pre-aggregated or is it simply replicated?

There is a need to extract datasets from NBS – is this functionality that the website needs to supply or is simply allowing external programs to export? Can you explain what you mean when you say “programs.” Is this an external resource? If so, do you need ad hoc ability to generate reports or will specific reports based on export formats be needed? If specific reports, can you estimate how many?

Can the ticketing system be an external service or does it have to be integrated?

Is there currently an ad-hoc reporting engine in place?

When sending automated reminder for missing data, how timely does this process have to be? Daily?

Is the costs for hosting part of the overall $350k budget?

Has any user research on the existing presentation of data from the data repository been done? If so, can you explain what you have?

How do you see us engaging with you for this project? Do you prefer a waterfall or agile approach? Weekly meetings?

In working with vendors in the past, what have you liked best/ worst?

Will the existing vendor(s) be part of the RFP process? If not, why is APHL looking to transition this project to a new vendor?

Regarding the limit of 20 pages of text: If graphics or charts are incorporated into pages that also contain text (i.e., case studies), does this count toward the 20-page limit? Similarly, may we attach an appendix?

Is the website currently running on Drupal 7 or 8? Is there plans to migrate to Drupal 8? If so, has a compatibility analysis been done to ensure a smooth upgrade

Integration into one platform may require migrating the PostgreSQL into a MySQL DB so that the Drupal site will have full access to the DB? Is that the desired goal and is the team willing to move the repository data into MySQL and learn using MySQL tools?

Data visualization tableau charts behind authentication - Will this continue to be a separate login or is this part of the single sign-on feature?

What sort of browser backward compatibility do you expect? Can you list out browser versions that the website and data repository should support

Are both the properties currently 508 compliant?

The website looks more mobile friendly compared to the data repository. We are assuming that one of the requirements would be for us to make both the properties mobile friendly.

We can use contributed/custom modules? But no browser-based plugins should be used.

Are 5AM Solutions and Teal Media part of this new RFP process? If not, what is the reason behind switching to a new development agency?

In the RFP you mention that the website should stay in Drupal, so for us to integrate both the data repository and the website, we would have to migrate the data repository into Drupal as well. Is that the intention?

Is the website hosted on Pantheon and Data Repository on AWS?

Do you want to continue to use PostgreSQL as the backend database for the data repository and use Drupal for the website? Are you open to migrating the data repository into Drupal?

What sort of access do you have to PostgreSQL, can you share screenshots from the admin interface?

How important is that the database remains in PostgreSQL or are you open to moving the repository to MariaDB (MySQL) which is the recommended database for Drupal and will work with Pantheon

Do you want us to redesign the website and data repository? We can make numerous improvements on the UI/UX changes and redesign both from the ground up.

In addition to allowing users to use the same login to access both the website and data repository, do you also want to integrate third-party single sign-on mechanisms like Google or LinkedIn. Is the entire website going to be protected or certain pages only? Will it be role-based protection based on existing Data Repository roles?

In point 1.7 you have mentioned making the website more user-friendly, but here you mention that the design shouldn’t change that much. So we are assuming from a ui/ux point of view changes should be incremental.

Any role-based authorization to access the file library and usage?

Apart from Naming convention, will there by any other checks? If so, do you anticipate any manual checking and approval of files submitted by Super-admins? Will there be email notifications apart from the notification on the website?

How is this microsite consumed on the APHL website?

There is already Search and Filter functionality for Website Resources. Are there going to additional tags on ‘Resources’ which will allow for Grouped display? Not sure what they mean by this.

Will the page just link to the relative ColLABorate messages page or will the messages be displayed on the page?

Is there a DR / COOP currently in place? If so, is the desire to build on top of the existing plan?

What is the purpose of the Mirror DB? Are the data extraction and analysis resource intensive impacting DB performance, hence requiring an off-production version of the DB?

How big is the team that requires access to the DB? Will they need remote login permissions? Are they currently using any DB client tools or are you open to suggestions?

Is there a data dictionary tool currently in use? If so, is the desire to continue with this tool and build on it? Or are analysis and recommendations on data dictionary tools required?

Do you need the ability to share/export reports? Any predetermined formats for Reports?

For evaluation criteria 1.32 – email and website based notifications?

Besides updated real-time data visualizations, what are the reasons you need to access the data from the data website in the Drupal website?

The items 1.30, 1.31, 1.32, 1.33, 1.34: Are these items able to be developed within the data website or are there limitations that require us to use the Drupal website to accomplish these items by having access to the database of the data website?

What data is on the Drupal website that the data website needs access to? 1.9 states ‘the website can pull data directly from the data repository and vice versa.

Who accesses the Drupal website for the need of sso? Seems like just new steps staff who edit the website would need access to the Drupal website, so why the need for sso? who would be the identity source for sso? (Drupal site, data site, something else?)

PostgreSQL data schema. Is there a possibility of getting a copy of the current schema in preparation of our proposal response?

Is there any reservation of moving NewSTEP’s data repository (PostgreSQL database) to a shared Drupal installation to achieve the single platform objective?

What does the NewSTEP’s team currently use to query the data repository? Is it mostly Tableau? Do you also use something like pgAdmin? Is there a custom interface? Other?

PostgreSQL Data access. Currently, it is described that access to the PostgreSQ/data repository is performed via web-based access, also there is mention of direct data access – is there a preferred way/tool to directly connect to the database?

What limitations are you experiencing with the data being on two different platforms. In understanding the challenge, displaying content from the data repository to the Web makes sense, what is required from the Web to the data repository?

Incremental adjustments and feedback. Can we get a better sense of what types of modifications will be required over the course of the contact? Change in data structure? Data visualization needs? New features and modules? Etc.?

In describing a “ticketing system access”, is this referring to the ticketing system of the vendor?

Real time snapshots of various publicly available data collected. Is this more about foundational metrics such as when such data is collected or more holistic reporting on results within the data?

Tracking quality improvement shared measures. This can have varying degrees of meaning, can we possibly get a sense of expectations for this area?

Do you have any ties to keeping tableau as your main tool for data visualization?

Are the babies anonymously tagged? I.e. is HIPPA compliance a factor

Is there a need for a redesign or rethinking of certain aspects of the site?

What is your satisfaction level with the current solution you have in place?

How many organizations submitted a letter of intent?

Are you able to provide us with a data model for the reporting database?

How is the Java on top of Postgres database working?

Are you open to having the query tool or front end of postgres database re-built in a different language? Or does it have to stay as is?

We are not sure we have all of the information we would require to price out this whole project. Are you open to us instead pricing out an initial Discovery phase? And thereafter putting together a budget for the rest of the project?

Is the incumbent the preferred vendor for this project?

Is it OK that the chart would then be outside of the 20 page count?

I am unclear as to how to handle Appendix A. Is the intent that we download it and resubmit with our proposal?