I'm really looking for somebody with the right mindset, somebody who looks at code and tools as just that. It's just a method to be creative. It's just a tool."

ChenTech Grand Opening, Oliver Degnan, ChenMed/CTech Chief Information Officer

Oliver, we've had an extraordinary day opening ChenTech here in New Orleans.  And, I know now you have the heavy lifting of recruiting 50 top programmers.  Tell me about whom you are looking for.  And why they should join ChenTech?

I'll tell you what I'm not looking for.  I'm not looking for the paycheck hunters -- the people who come in and just want to have a job.  I just want to come here for eight hours and just to do what I've been told. 

I need the guys who can think outside the box.  I need innovative thinkers who are not scared of challenging the status quo.  I need people who can come in in the morning, at night, whenever they have an idea -- the spark of innovation.  And, they're simply let loose to just go and do it.  I need people who connect with our doctors; who are in it for the mission.  They're in it to win it.

What that means is, that if you believe that the code that you're writing every day, that the applications that you are producing improve humans' lives, improve the patients' outcomes, make the doctors more efficient, that’s when I know I have a winning formula for success when it comes to the...employee. 

So, the right employee is somebody who doesn't necessarily wear a suit and tie; somebody who comes in with shorts, with sandals.  It doesn't matter.  If they have the right viewpoints, if they have the right attitude towards what it is they're doing, and if they have the right skill set to turn those ideas into reality, they're going to be great!  Those are going to be the guys who are going to be absolutely amazing here at ChenTech, because ChenTech delivers an environment that allows your creativity to spark. 

So whether you're over there and you are sitting on your desk with six other guys that are wired just like you, or, you take a break playing the XBox, or connecting with the teams in Miami or India on our media-scape tables interactively, or playing on the foosball table.  Or spending the time in our kitchen and coding in the kitchen, it doesn't matter where you sit.  The environment that we deliver here, that we provide at ChenTech, allows creative people to be creative -- really, really important.

Let's talk about languages.  I know ChenTech works in multiple languages.  Tell me about the types of people you are looking for and what the skill sets are.

Skills are important for us.  So we have a Microsoft sequel back end.  Front end is Java, so anybody who is fluent in programming Java, front end will be HTML5, or even IOS applications so in terms of Objective-C those are critical skill sets.  But at the end of the day a good coder is a good coder, and a bad coder is a bad coder.  If you know coding, if you have object-oriented principles, if you know what a good system architecture looks like, it really doesn't matter whether you program in Java, in PHP, C++, what have you.  I'm really looking for somebody with the right mindset, somebody who looks at code and tools as just that.  It's just a method to be creative. It’s just a tool.

So today it's Java, HTML5 and Objective-C.  Who knows what the future will hold. 

Talk to me about the number of Aps we already have that are in process.  You know these great technologies that already exist, and that we're going to keep building on and improving. 

Let me show you.  So, we have a number of applications.   So, I have my iPhone here.  Our medical record system, we actually put up on this device already.  So, this is one out of the many Aps that developers get to write here.  And this was an application.  It allows doctors to search for patients when they're on call.  It enables them to look at the medical records, to actually take notes and what have you, and take pictures.  And, again, this is an application for which the prototype was written in about 2 to 3 weeks.  And then, it took about another month for this thing to actually go into production.  So, it's these kinds of Aps that we are developing.  Aps such as mini medical record; appointment makers for doctors to quickly make appointments, while they are on the go, instead of going to use these complicated scheduling systems; applications for the patients to get inside their health records, into the treatment plans, the treatment options, educational materials.  These kinds of things. 

But then, we also want to write some cool applications.  Just something that's just fun for us.  For example, who just checked in code into the source control repository and broke it?  So, there's an application for that that lets the entire organization know that, "Hey, Oliver just broke the code." Things like this.  It has to be fun.    Because if you don't have fun connecting with technology, how can you have fun taking that connectivity to providers, to patients and what have you?  And, again, Aps, we have no shortage in terms of applications that we are thinking of producing.  All we need now are highly talented and motivated individuals who want to be part of a great mission. 

And when you look at the vision and the mission of ChenTech and the opportunities you mentioned, and how robust they are to really make a difference, what are some of the near mountains you are going to climb with your team? 

OK.  Well the first thing we need to do, we need to truly commercialize, or create a commercializable platform for the Dashboard application.  Dashboard is our meaningful-use certified electronic health record system and we think of it as a web-based modulized platform where developers can write modules that can be used by physicians and that can customized the look and feel of it, the placement of those modules.  All these kinds of things.  So, this is something that we need to do in the very, very near term.

Also, the real time analytics for diagnoses to be more accurate, and these kinds of things for all the billing and claim submission.  These kind of things.  So these are all things that we are planning on writing over the next eight to 12 months that need to be highly commercializable. 

Will you be recruiting programmers from all over the country, or all over the world?  ChenTech now has a wonderful operation here in New Orleans.  Why New Orleans? 
And where are you recruiting your folks from?

So, New Orleans is known for the establishment of some highly creative companies.  You have GameLoft here.  You have Liquid Squid here.  You have GE here.  There are some main players in the New Orleans area when it comes to talent acquisition.  And some of them already brought the talent here.  But, then this talent that is already here is also connected to other talent out there.  So the Governor has invested himself a lot into turning New Orleans into the technology hub, into the mecca of technology innovation. 

And with us being here now obviously we are a major player in innovative technologies in the healthcare space.  I'm looking for talent, hopefully finding it locally.  But it doesn't matter at the end of the day where you are.  If you are in California, if you are in Wisconsin, if you are in India, even Germany, if you have the right attitude, if you have the right skill set and you believe in the mission and you invest yourself in being part of this family-driven, innovative thinking, you have a chance to be part of this. 

Bryan Sivak was here from HSUS.   He said some amazing things about ChenTech and ChenMed and what a difference it's making.  He referred to it as "The American dream." What does that mean to you and your programming team to hear someone on a Federal level talking about this potential. 

Well it's huge, right?  I mean somebody like Bryan (Sivak, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Health and Human Services) who is already connected to the White House. 

Also, with Dr. Chris Chen (ChenMed CEO) who met with President Obama in the White House not too long ago, to talk about some of the challenges in healthcare and how technology can actually help to ease the burden that we all feel as a nation when it comes to healthcare.

The opportunity is quite amazing today!  So, having somebody like Bryan here connecting with us and staying connected, it opens quite a huge door for us to do a lot of good in the industry. 

I did show Bryan, for example, one of the Aps that I have on the phone here, and he immediately said "Wow, Oliver, this is amazing! We should really talk more about this." So I can't wait to connect with Bryan again and actually show his team and his advisers and say, "Okay, this is an innovation that we already have at ChenTech.  How can this be potentially leveraged in the United States, in the greater continuum of care?  How can we improve patient care not just for the ChenTech patients and the ChenMed patients and JenCare patients, but for everybody out there?"

So I believe that being connected to somebody like Bryan, who is connected to everybody else out there, I think this is a great channel for us to streamline our innovation into the greater market. 

Our model is different than that of so many other programming companies.  And, we have this incredible asset, these very passionate doctors in our centers.  Tell me about that magic and what it means to the program when you are trying to recruit. Why should top programmers come to ChenMed?  What does it mean to candidates to work hand and glove with medical professionals?

I worked in the medical space for the last few years.  And, what I can tell you is, programmers are not connected to physicians.  At the end of the day, they program something and they don’t really know:

How many lives they have saved?

How they influence care?

How did they improve the practice?

and what have you. They are so disconnected. 

At ChenMed, JenCare and with Chen Technologies you really are fused into the practice of medicine through the physicians who are connected to ChenTechnologies. 

Today, I invited a number of physicians here to this event.  These are the physicians who meet with our developers on a day-to-day basis; who actually look over their shoulders and say "Yeah, this is cool.  How about this?"  And then the developer says, "Yeah, but how about that? Have you ever thought of this?" And the doctor says, "No, I haven't.  Let’s try it."

It's a fantastic fusion between the medical space and the technology.  And, I believe you can only have that at ChenTech.  ChenTech comes from ChenMed and JenCare.  It's this extraordinary family practice that has proven to be extremely efficient when it comes to outcome-managed care.  The technology company, the technologies out of ChenTech, was born from it. So we continue to be rooted in that particular foundation. 

So for you as a developer to be here, that means you have one foot always in the practice of medicine. 

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