EHRs: Mock vendor Web sites illustrate why some doctors distrust EHRs

June 27, 2008

If you want to better understand why less than 20 percent of doctors have implemented EHRs, visit the website of a vendor called Extormity, dedicated to offering "highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitively expensive" software.

If you want to better understand why less than 20 percent of doctors have implemented EHRs, visit the Web site of a vendor called Extormity, dedicated to offering “highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitivelyexpensive” software.

Said to be “at the confluence of extortion and conformity,” Extormity isn’t a real company, but the Web site for the faux vendor points to real gripes that physicians have about EHRs. Consider, for example, the company’s slogan of “Extormity knows best.” In a nutshell, it means forcing physicians to adapt to the software, whatever the cost, and not the other way around. “Our slow and painful change process significantly interrupts patient volumes and revenues,” the Web site states.

Likewise, the Extormity site trumpets its “Perpetual Investment” program, which is all about piling on extra charges. The vendor’s “seat-based fee approach” puts every practice employee-and even the night-time cleaning crew-into the mix for maximum revenue, regardless of whether they use the program.

You’ll find customer testimonials at the Extormity Web site, but not the kind you’d expect. “Thanks to Extormity, we have now spent a significant sum on a healthcare IT system that forced us to unlearn our preferences in favor of an approach that makes us treat each patient the same way, regardless of our medical training and instincts,” writes one doctor.

The satire continues at a website for a mock software-vendor association called SEEDIE, which stands for the Society for Exorbitantly Expensive and Difficult to Implement EHRs. It’s a group that believes interoperable EHR programs are possible, but only at a hefty price. “Given enough in custom integration fees, we can build an interface that will allow our EMR to exchange clinical data with a toaster oven,” writes fictional Extormity CEO Brantley Whittington in a blog.

The SEEDIE website describes the group’s certification program, which spoofs the real-life Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology. “Working with a hand-picked, semi-objective group of medical practitioners who are paid handsomely by our member vendors to participate, we developed a set of SEEDIE scenarios that resemble, in many respects, realistic clinical situations,” the Web site states.

The more a vendor pays for SEEDIE certification, the easier it is to obtain this stamp of approval. To earn platinum certification, for example, vendors are required to merely “review scenario criteria and state, out loud, ‘Yes,we can do those things.’ ”