Q & A: Careers at a digital healthcare company


If you are looking for an amazing place to work, drchrono might just be for you.

How did we find and hire our first few employees? 
Our very first hires were people we found who were looking for jobs in the recession back in 2009 when we started drchrono. When times are bad, hiring tends to be amazing as talented people are looking for jobs.

Getting out there is key, talking, getting booths and socializing at conferences we met some of our best employees early on as well. Don’t underestimate where you can find good people who believe in an idea, talent is everywhere, you just need to keep your eyes open and get out there.

A key for our company early on was and still is having an inspirational mission. What is our mission? We are trying to make the world a better place by fixing healthcare. Healthcare in the US is broken, very broken, it is hard for doctors to get paid for work, it is hard for patients to see what they are paying, and the healthcare industry today is mainly driven by paper and fax machines. In todays day and age this just shouldn’t be, healthcare can be better. Our goal is to fix what is wrong with healthcare by using disruptive tech, and thinking in innovative ways. Our mission naturally attracts people who are trying to make a difference. People motivated by a mission.

Which positions are the hardest to fill and why?
Generally brilliant software developers are the hardest people to find and positions to fill, we are picky and only want amazing talent at drchrono so it makes it even harder. My cofounder Michael and I are software developers, so we keep the bar high and only look for these best people we can find in Silcon Valley.

Silicon Valley has a shortage of amazing engineers due to all of the startups that are flocking here, starting here and raising capital in the Valley.

We don’t look at an engineers degree, but past projects to tell us what they are made of and can do. It isn’t the developers school but a persons past projects and software built and speed of development that gets them hired.

What are the qualities of an ideal startup employee?
We look for people who want to change the world, not just get a paycheck. We look for people who have done amazing work, they think like a startup of one, building or doing something that makes them standout from the crowd. We want people who are go getters who get things done.

5 thoughts on “Q & A: Careers at a digital healthcare company

  1. I just wanted to let you know that the platform you are developing here is absolutely revolutionary! I am a nurse, a clinical supervisor, and also a patient with a complicated history stemming from poor treatment I received at my own hospital. That treatment had a variety of causes ranging from an inexperienced provider to poorly-developed protocols. But, underlying all of that, was a system of confusing, non-integrated, poorly conceived, and un-integrated software systems. We literally use dozens of different programs and systems to run this small-town public hospital. Not one is capable of adequately communicating with another so all require redundant, expensive, and very fallible steps to get the information across. Worse, these systems have been developed over time using the band-aid and workaround system. This has created a literal quagmire of subroutines that either lead to nowhere or require 6-7 extra “clicks” to accomplish the function on one. To say that this has created confusion and errors in the clinical system is an understatement of epic proportions.
    In my case, it led to a simple bowel obstruction diagnosis being delayed for 5 days while I went slowly septic. I was 6-months pregnant at the time. My OB was never contacted though he worked only 2 floors up from my hospital bed. Instead of a simple surgery, I ended up being rushed to Seattle where I had 3 major surgeries in 3 days and my son was delivered at only 28-weeks gestation. I was at Swedish Hospital for almost 6 months and have since had 9 more surgeries to correct the massive damage. My son survived but has since developed autism; very probably as a result of his premature delivery. When my medical saga first began, I thought that it was just provider error. But 6 months in a hospital bed gives a nurse a long time to think. Reviewing my records, I began to see a much larger problem. Despite the provider’s ignorance and inexperience, there were dozens of opportunities to correct his mistakes that were overlooked. At first I believed that this was due to faulty processes. When I was well enough to return to work, I came back as a Nursing Supervisor. I essentially ran the facility at night. But, instead of finding solutions, I only discovered enough interlacing issues to keep my head buzzing for decades. So I decided to take a step back and move over to the clinical side. I took a job as a Clinical Supervisor for our Cardiology department. I hoped that having more control would be the answer to optimizing patient care. So I came in and started cleaning house with a vengeance and a passion. I reorganized, standardized, and developed my department for 2 years. But, no matter how hard I worked to clean house, we were still fraught with negative outcomes and unhappy patients, staff, and providers. So I turned to the EHR. At the time, we had a different EHR from the rest of the organization and had to live in 2 worlds because the health record component lived in GEMMs but the administrative work was all done in Next Gen where everyone else was.
    But this was all slated to change in September of last year. We were finally being rolled over to Next Gen completely. I was excited but so nervous about the transition because I had very little faith in the training department and the team of “consultants” we hired from New Orleans. My providers liked GEMMs, not because it was a great program, but because they were familiar with it. They had worked to develop it into something that, while not very comprehensive or efficient, was at least usable. Now they were being thrust into the unknown. Worst was that no one had ever seen the templates that we were supposed to be using. They had been built by a Cardiology practice back east somewhere and no one from our IT/IS department, Next Gen, or the consulting company had ever dealt with it before. You can imagine how it’s been. I spent the first 2 months having to build, beg, or make up the guidelines for this new system. Thankfully, I had anticipated this chain of events and recruited my own help; my husband Jason.
    Jason is a wonderful man. We’ve been married for 12 years now and he has been with me since the start. He has always worked in retail management but has always had a strong love of technology. In fact, his first job was building his own computer business with his friend (also Jason) in high school. Our entire relationship, Jason has been the one networking the house together and making the toaster talk to the vacuum. Not really but close. He would route all the signals to the universal remote so that he could control everything from a single location. In the meantime, I would be tearing my hair out trying to make it all work. I am only relatively tech savvy; in our relationship, I know medicine and he knows technology. It works well that way and this actually helped to develop a wonderful team system. He would show me all the wonderful things that his high tech toys could do, and I would make him keep simplifying the operations again and again until it was something I could use effectively. So, when faced with the daunting prospect of the new EHR rollout, I started thinking about what I needed most and I realized that was Jason. So I looked at the job postings and I discovered that our Staff Development department was looking for a new trainer. This position would develop, create, and implement the training for all the staff on these new systems. Then they would float among the departments and help staff and providers use these new systems. I called the department head and told her, “Have I got the guy for you!” Jason had recently completed his electronics engineering degree and was looking for a position to use it in. So he sent his resume and was hired a few weeks later. Unfortunately, because we are married, they would place him with my department. Still, I make no exaggeration when I say that he helped to save us regardless. Being able to pick his brain every evening on every detail of the new system helped me to understand the myriad and confusing ins and outs of the new system and this was the only reason I was able to make it even semi-functional. He even built the training videos that we are currently selling back to Next Gen! I cannot tally the number of off-the-clock hours he has spent with me, building reports and explaining processes so that I can explain them to my staff or present an issue to the board. As a fortunate byproduct, he has also discovered quite a passion for systems implementation and teaching. He has always been the guy that people call to fix their computer or help install their new video game system. But now he has discovered a way to turn that skill into something that creates a major impact in the world. By helping us, he helps our patients by the score and saves lives every single day though he will never know it. He is smart, genuine, engaging, and knows how to break even the most complicated topic down in a way that makes sense to us laypeople.
    The underlying problem with Next Gen goes back to my statement earlier about developing systems based on workarounds and band aids. It may have started as a good basic EHR repository but it has since morphed into something reminiscent of one of those horrific genetic mutations from a 50’s horror film. Somewhere along the way, they decided they needed an EPM function. So, instead of building one onto the existing program, they simply purchased a likely candidate and did the programming equivalent of duct taping the two systems together. As a result, the 2 systems only share the similarities of a color palate and about 3 streams of information. Everything else has to be redone on each side. It also does not communicate with the equipment function very well so we have to access our EKG’s via another backdoor. The imaging files have to be accessed via a completely different program all together as does anything done on the hospital side which uses an entirely different platform all together. Scheduling a simple procedure crosses at least 9 hands and uses a minimum of 6 different programs to accomplish! Then, getting the results of that procedure? You get the idea. I have an entire department of LPNs whose sole purpose is to gather records from facilities outside and from WITHIN our own organization and make sure the provider can figure out where everything is…the expense and failure rate are staggering!!
    I watched a presentation by Sinbad once at the Microsoft conference where he talked about Steve Jobs and his vision for technology that anyone could use effectively. That always stuck with me. I firmly believe that the largest issue in healthcare today can be summed up in one simple statement. “Medical aptitude and technical aptitude are NOT synonymous!” Would you ask your IT guy to dress your wound? Of course not! So why should you expect that your doctor should be able to navigate a set of software systems that would give even the late Mr. Jobs pause? The answer is that you shouldn’t. Moreover, it’s entirely avoidable! I cannot tell you the number of times in the last 2 years, that I have looked at my EHR then at my iPhone and thought, ‘Why in blue blazes can my phone do all of this in a single small device but I have to go to 4 different programs to treat one patient?’
    I know this is a long remark but I wanted you to know how amazing what you are doing is. I am actually applying for my Masters Degree in Health Informatics and Health Information at the University of WA. My initial goal was to help develop an EHR software that is intuitive, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, modifiable, and utilizes the technology that is already available to us. Then, while discussing these plans with an IS coworker of mine, she told me about dr chrono. Apparently she knows one of your employees. I looked it up and was astounded to see literally everything I had envisioned my ideal EHR software to be presented there! Even using the Microsoft platform was what Jason and I had envisioned as the ideal option. Making something that is expandable to the exact size and specifications of your organization, while still maintaining security and reliability, is exactly what Microsoft is about. And the ease of use factor is absolutely pivotal. Not just for staff but for patients as well. The patient portal with real time calendar feature alone had me giggling and vaguely nauseous with envy! Now my goal is different. I want to work for you someday and bring dr chrono from the Silicon Valley to the Silicon Forest. The need for it here is immense. My husband feels the same way. Our big dream would be to get on board with your company either there or here. His goal is a degree in Human Resources Development with a Masters in Biomedical Informatics. He wants to teach healthcare facilities to use technology effectively so that it aids the process instead of hindering it. We have researched EHRR software across the board from Meditech, GEMMs, Citrix, and Next Gen to Epic. Purported to be the “Cadillac of EHR software”, I have to say that it doesn’t hold a candle to dr chrono. What you have built there is truly a revolution in healthcare and one that we would be passionate about bringing to the world. With a system like this, what happened to us (both professionally and personally) would almost certainly never have occurred.
    I suppose it doesn’t hurt that you also seem like our kind of people. Jason and I are card carrying geeks and our last “romantic weekend” was at the Emerald City Comicon.  Seeing your staff watching Samurai movies on the wall really struck a chord with us. It’s not all about the mission. It’s important that we find a place with true heart and spirit too. Don’t ever change that!

  2. I apologize for the various typos and errors. I wrote this rather quickly during a break. I also just realized that I referred to Microsoft instead of Macintosh not once but several times! I knew who I meant but my brain shot out the other guy. Oh, and it turns out that the coworker who introduced me to your product is actually related to one of your cofounders (Daniel Kivatinos) by marriage. It really is a small world but I understand now why she is so knowledgable about it. Emily is the one they did place with my department during the EHR transition and she saved us just as much (or more) as Jason did.

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