daniel kivatinos

The drchrono Django Healthcare Hackathon – Learning Django 101

The drchrono hacker team

healthcare hackers.

If you haven’t done so yet, please take the “drchrono hacker challenge” before moving forward. If you have already taken the challenge then read on. We are hiring for a number of roles, you can find a list of career descriptions here.

The Hacker Challenge

We have a lot of talented hackers take the “drchrono hacker challenge” in many different languages, there are a lot of programming languages. You can take the challenge in any language. We love all languages and each have their benefits, but we give preferential treatment to the languages most relevant to working at drchrono.

Our preferential languages to use in the challenge are: Objective-C, PythonJavascript, Erlang. Also if you know Swift, let us know, the challenge doesn’t support Swift, but just mention to us that you have used Swift.

Other languages frequently used for webdev are also impressive to use to use for the challenge: Ruby, Clojure, Go, Perl (to some degree), C/C++ (to some degree).

We don’t use these in drchrono, but will be impressed if you test well using them: Rust, OCaml, Haskell, Lisp, Lua, Racket, F#, D, Scala, PHP.

The languages least relevant to drchrono are: C#, VB.NET, Java.

Our reasoning: The healthcare hackathons consists of mainly JavaScript and/or Django-Python. So our preference is you take the drchrono hacker challenge in something related to what you will be doing here. You can give the challenge a try in the language you know best, then take the challenge again in Python, that will impress us. We are ok with you learning and taking our challenge a few times if needed.

We’re looking for well-rounded iOS developers, ideally with experience in all layers of the stack.

If you really want to impress us, take our “Hard Hacker Challenge“.

The Cram Period

Once we call you in for a healthcare hackathon, you will have a chance to learn as much Django as possible before coming in to impress us with your skills. (We also do iOS — Objective C and Swift Hackathons for people who are looking to join the iOS team)

Django is a web development framework built on Python, to be a successful Django developer you have to know the in’s and out’s of Python.  It is possible to learn both the language and framework together, but it’s much easier to pick up Python first, and then learn Django by following their build-an-app tutorial.  A good Django dev is a good Python dev, but a good Python dev is not inherently a good Django dev. ~Nick S. from the engineering team

drchrono hacker team at work

engineering team at the chronoplex.

For those of you who don’t know Django we recommend taking as much time as possible before coming in to learn as much Django as you can. I can’t stress enough that knowing Django will make it a successful hackathon for you.

django: built by perfectionists with deadlines

I would recommend learning Django ~ 4-6 hours a week to really get a handle on it. Our stipulation is that when you come you are ready to hack away on our stack.

Here are a couple of good resources to get you started, we use the lastest version of Django and Python (2.x):

Free Resources

Great Learning & Courses

Focus on making a small apps instead of just reading docs, show us what you built when you meet us in person!

Optional: Impress us by learning the drchrono Application Programming Interface API also if you have time, it isn’t required but it would be great to see what you think about it and what you can do with it. Work on one of these projects and show it off to us when you are at the chronoplex. Doing one of these projects is a great way to learn Django, learn about healthcare, leverage an API and will for sure impress us during your code review the last day of your healthcare hackathon … more about the hackathon below. Learn a bit about RESTfuls API with this tool.

The Healthcare Hackathon

The drchrono hackathon is 3 days, so you have only so much time here in the chronoplex to do something impressive.

definition: hack·a·thon
An event, typically lasting several days, in which people
meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

Generally the 1st day is getting acclimated, meeting the team, getting use to the Mac, the development environment, and the software we load onto it for you. Not to mention learning a bit about Mountain View. We are a startup and there are about ~35 people on the team, say hi to people as they walk by! Let people know who you are, what you are working on. Talking to people will give you fun insight into our culture, team and some fun conversation.

It is ok to bring your own laptop to the hackathon, it is also ok to use Google, StackOverFlow and the like for the hackathon. Of course you will have the Internet as well while you are here.

who you will be meeting :)

who you will be meeting.

If you want to have an extra day to explore, just let us know and we will add an additional date to your hotel room, on drchrono’s dime. You can look around and be a tourist for a day.  Apple is about 30 minutes away, Y Combinator is about 15 minutes away and Google is next door to the chronoplex. San Francisco is just a CalTrain ride away. Just let Barbara our office manager know before you come out so we can book the extra day for you!

The “chronoplex” address –

328 Gibraltar Dr, Sunnyvale, CA, 94089


For a successful hackathon, we give you an idea, a code base to work, and you start hacking from there on the idea. Use your imagination and our suggestions to implement the idea. In order to do this, you’ll definitely have to know how to do a little frontend + backend work, which typically involves coding in:

  • HTML + JavaScript + CSS
  • jQuery (Angular.JS is awesome but not essential)
  • Python + Django
  • Git + Bash (awesome if you know it but not essential)
  • Objective-C and Swift ( not related to this hackathon )

The Code Review

At the end of the hackathon on the last day before you leave, we will do a code review to see how well you did on the task at hand, code quality and functionality. We review code to see how well you think on your feet, hacking away, and to see if the actual “thing” you built works and how much progress you made. We want to see what you’re thinking was, the issues you ran into and why you did what you did.

Also during the code review the team would love to see other projects you have worked on if you have them. We love looking at side projects, past work at other companies and any side apps. This helps us see how you program, tackle problems and see what you’re interested in.

The code review generally takes an hour.

The healthcare hackathon is the main determinant if we hire, the code and if we are a good culture fit.

A real email from a hackathon candidate after a code review.


Some more insight from another hackathon candidate and why it is worth doing.

Our Culture

We see every developer we hire as artists, generally, the developers work when they are most productive, though being at the chronoplex is critical, we are a startup, we all need fast feedback loops and communication, as the platform is created, this applies across all teams from sales to customer success.

We try to minimize the meetings also to two per week with the developer team so you can focus on what is most important, building the platform.

We need a few good superhero's.

Getting Hired

If the engineering team loves your code, we hit it off and you feel like drchrono is your future home … we will make you an offer fast within a matter of days. We are looking for the right people over just hiring anyone and seeing you in action hacking away and meeting in person speaks volumes on both sides.

After the healthcare hackathon, generally the decision is made in about 10 days if not before then, at this point we will give you an update on everything and if all goes well, we will make an offer!

~ Life is short, build stuff that matters.

Note: Thanks to the drchrono engineering team for reading drafts of this.

Daniel Kivatinos Article by Daniel Kivatinos, COO and cofounder, drchrono
Daniel drives direction, brand vision, and business strategy for drchrono. Daniel’s focus has been in the technology space since 2001, as a software engineer and entrepreneur. Daniel holds an M.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Computer Science & Psychology from Stony Brook University.


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.

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Reflections from “Health 2.0 in the Doctor’s Office”


This is a repost from “The Health Care Blog“.

By William Sellman, M.D., MBA

Will Sellmann has commented on a couple of panels at Health 2.0 and been very prescient. Now he’s spent a bit of time to pen his reflections on what happened in Health 2.0 in the Doctor’s Office, which was held late last month in Florida. Will is at Alameda Family Physicians and is Director of Performance Improvement at Affinity Medical Group

  1. Why is there innovation in this sphere?
  2. What problems are we really trying to solve, and how?
  3. Is there any party missing from the discussion?

These are but three of a series of questions I asked myself during and after the enlightening, and perhaps prescient, Health 2.0 conference that took place last weekend in Jacksonville, Florida. But these particular questions are inextricable from one another when applied to the overarching goal of the movement afoot that Health 2.0 supports. I endeavor here to not only answer these questions, but to communicate their relevance to those striving to maximize a fluid patient experience through technology.

While Health 2.0 is, in my mind, a nexus of technology utilization and process revision with respect to health care, it is also a phenomenon that must be considered within the context of the healthcare industry as a whole if it is to be usefully deployed.

At 17% of GDP, the industry of healthcare in the United States may soon boast (threaten?) to involve the employment of 1 in 5 Americans. At a macroeconomic level, major costs can be found within wide-scale interventional surgical procedures (large joint replacements such as knees and hips, as well as cardiac stenting), pharmaceutical development, and imaging technologies. Policy likely stands as one of few viable interventions for controlling these costs in any significant way. Viewed from such a high level, economizing the outpatient experience through web based products might be considered akin to polishing the hubcaps of a big rig as it drives through the mud. Yet there is another macroeconomic phenomenon to consider: the combination of proposed broader insurance coverage and an aging population, with a relatively inelastic supply of healthcare providers to meet such demand, creates an unprecedented call for efficiency at the point of care if we are to avoid uncomfortable triage.

Simply put, at 17% of GDP, healthcare is where the money is, for better or worse. Fortunately, where there is money, there is often innovation. Yet the architects of tomorrow’s healthcare system, from policy creation down to care-level tools, are wise to heed the timely lessons of finance: “innovations” such as creative mortgage backed securities and off-balance-sheet financing provide short term and often misdirected benefit. Certainly those who stand to profit at the product level in healthcare will appreciate the nuances of the demands on efficiency outlined above, as well as the long-term outlook required. It is here that Health 2.0’s participants can benefit from recognizing the fundamental processes within medicine, and thus the complementary assets such processes will logically embrace [few articles, in my opinion, are more pertinent in this arena than David Teece’s Profiting from technological innovation: Implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy].

The delivery of quality healthcare is the result of a large, but finite, number of processes. Communication, education, billing, availability, and transparency lie at the heart of these processes. Recurrent processes, both clinical and managerial, lend themselves to automation to every extent possible. Indeed, this has been one of the major triumphs of the electronic medical record. What is difficult to communicate beyond the walls of the medical practice, however, is the degree of unpredictability embedded into both processes. This often distinguishes medicine from a majority of process-driven vocations. Moreover, although technology will augment the availability and fluidity of virtual communication with and among health care providers, the tacit knowledge gained and applied in the actual exam room will remain a necessary fixture of the profession. Taken together, these observations present a challenge for those developing the revolutionary products displayed via Health 2.0. The following examples will clarify this challenge.

Phreesia, DrChrono, RxVantage, and CarePass are four companies that presented at the conference. During their presentations I had the opportunity to provide feedback from a physician’s perspective in regards to their relevance and position within healthcare systems. Like the other products within the Health 2.0 domain, these companies are borne out of problems, both real and perceived, with the core processes mentioned above. As a practicing physician, I am intrigued with each product’s ability to streamline traditionally time consuming tasks such as eligibility at the point of care (Phreesia), office visit management (DrChrono), pharmaceutical representative scheduling (RxVantage), and consumer health data management (CarePass). Based on individual discussions as well as observing their presentations, I have no doubt that they excel at their focused tasks. Done correctly, each preserves, ensures, and promotes the timely interaction between patient and provider.


Yet this crucial effect was seldom mentioned as a selling point for any of the products. Without commoditizing the practice of medicine itself, vendors need to continually reevaluate their products’ capacity to enable the practice of medicine. Doctors need to see the provision of care as extending beyond the exam room; in an age of growing complexity, the unit of care upon which providers can differentiate themselves is now much greater than just the physical encounter. Adeptly managing communication “upstream” and “downstream” from the encounter is not only more feasible, but also something capable of being continually “pushed” to the consumer (patient). This is progress.

Just as the rapidly expanding data base of clinical knowledge promotes sub specialization, the complexities inherent to medical practices often preclude physicians from wholly grasping all of the relationships among pre-, post-, and intra-office visit processes. This “omniscience” often falls to an office manager or other key ancillary staff member. Nevertheless, products affecting these processes, such as those mentioned above, are largely marketed directly to physicians (since they ultimately make the purchases). But Health 2.0, and its constituent members, might best realize their potential by regularly incorporating those omniscient brains behind successful offices. “Health 2.0 in the Doctor’s Office” makes sense. Asking what, and who, drives that Office makes even more sense.

Finally, it is useful to define a common thread among the exciting, innovative, sometimes helpful, sometimes misdirected, and always creative tools within the Health 2.0 phenomenon. To me, that thread is the identification of process inefficiencies and the subsequent solutions therein via web-based applications. Validating and effectively communicating these inefficiencies merit much more attention going forward. One tool that stands to greatly clarify the validation process is activity based costing. Applied appropriately, the true unit (and thus aggregate) costs of recurrent processes -as well as recurrent missed opportunities- come to the fore. Applied specifically within a potential client’s practice, activity based costing can underscore the utility (or, importantly, the futility) of a proposed solution.

Viewed historically, Health 2.0 might be considered a fundamental driver that aligned the delivery and use of health care with the modernity already enjoyed in other industries. Unbridled optimism or reflexive skepticism are ineffective extremes; their sources and arguments remain predictable and contribute little to shifting paradigms. The desired paradigm shift in medicine will utilize the enthusiasm and awareness characteristic of Health 2.0. As outlined above, there is more work to be done. I am confident it will be done well.

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DrChrono shows their iPad chops


By Matthew Holt

The guys from DrChrono have come a long way since we saw them first just last summer. They have a SaaS based practice management system, but at Health 2.0 at the Doctor’s Office they introduced an iPad-based tool for physicians. Here’s a quick video I took of them last month, with a live fake demo of what it might look like in a real encounter between a real doctor, and a fake patient.

This is a repost from “The Health Care Blog“.

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NY Data Stories Digital Insights & Analytics


February 16th, 2010 Michael and I had the honor of giving a talk about data in healthcare at the NY Data Stories Digital Insights & Analytics meetup.

NY Data Stories Digital Insights & Analytics

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DrChrono.com @ the NY Tech Meetup December 2009


I gave a commercial pitch to the NY Tech community this December 2009 for Dr. Chrono, it was great fun!:

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Interview of the Founders of drchrono by Ron of Python411


Michael and I had been interviewed earlier this year by Ron of Python411, this is a technical interview talking about the technologies we are using:

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drchrono – On NPR Marketplace Radio


I was on NPR Marketplace radio in April of 09, interviewed by Mitchell Hartman talking about some of the ideas we are working on.

The radio piece goes into detail about where venture capital investors are investing and the healthcare industry.

Click here to get more details on this radio piece.

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BootUpNYC 2009

Michael and I went to BootUpNYC 2009, it was a great experience, we met a number of great
people doing startups and looking to do startups. There were investors, workspace providers and people providing advice. The BootUpNYC is a must for anyone starting and running a business.
Photos of the night:
Michael and I at the BootUp, me on the left and Michael on the right:
Danie and Michael
David Rose, an investor whom we had the honor to chat with:
Tokumbo Shobowale, Chief Operating Officer of the New York City Economic Development Corporation:
Darren Herman, entrepreneur and digital media evangelist:
Sanford Dickert, a social-media consultant:
Bruce Niswander, an entrepreneur and consultant with over 20 years of experience:
Rachel Sterne, CEO of GroundReport.com:

DrChrono.com featured in an Inc.com article


DrChrono.com was featured in an online article for Inc. magazine. Read the full article on their website:

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