Silicon Valley Hype Machine Revs Up Again

I hate to keep bashing Silicon Valley, since I’ve come to think that it’s venture capitalists, not tied to one particular region, who are the ones not “getting” healthcare. That said, we got a bit more overblown hyperbole coming out of Northern California this morning from drchrono.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which likely is correct when it says it created the first EHR that it native to the iPad—and a free one at that—announced today that it has received an new round of $650,000 in seed funding  from the VC community. (Congratulations on that.) Drchrono today also introduced OnPatient, an iPad app that replaces the hated clipboard and paper form for taking patient history at the doctor’s office. Here are the details, from the drchrono press release:

drchrono Launches iPad App to Replace Paper-Based Check-In at Doctor’s Office; Closes Additional $650,000 in Seed Funding

Free OnPatient App Digitizes Patient Waiting Room and Integrates Seamlessly with Electronic Medical Records

Mountain View, CA – August 18, 2011 – drchrono, the company modernizing healthcare through a free Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform on the iPad, today announced a new patient check-in app which replaces the traditional paper check-in process in the physician waiting room. OnPatient is an app that can be downloaded to the iPad for free and integrated into a medical practice as a stand alone onboard app. The patient check-in app also seamlessly integrates with drchrono’s Meaningful Use-certified iPad EHR.

On the heels of the OnPatient product launch, drchrono recently closed an additional $650,000 in seed funding from prominent start-up investor Yuri Milner, founder of DST Global, and venture capital firm General Catalyst. This follows $675,000 in seed funding from General Catalyst, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups and angel investors, previously announced in July.

“The OnPatient check-in app digitizes the waiting room and eliminates significant barriers to mass adoption of patient check-in technology by leveraging sophisticated iPad technology. Proprietary check-in hardware is prohibitively expensive and integration with existing EHR systems is too complex,” said Michael Nusimow, co-founder and CEO of drchrono. “We designed the OnPatient app to be intuitive for both physicians and patient users to create a better patient check-in experience.”

OnPatient is a full-featured app with customizable templates that enable physicians to eliminate paper forms and clipboards in the waiting room. There are no contracts or monthly fees; the only hardware investment is the iPad itself. Upon download, the OnPatient app allows patients to:

  • Complete family medical history and demographic information
  • Complete insurance information
  • Snap a profile photo
  • Sign the HIPAA consent form with a digital signature

The touch screen interface is user-friendly and the information auto-populates directly into the drchrono EHR platform. On subsequent visits, patients do not have to complete duplicate forms—they need only review their information and make any necessary changes on the iPad. OnPatient meets all industry security standards, ensuring the privacy and safety of patient data.

For more information on drchrono and the OnPatient app, please visit

About drchrono: 

drchrono focuses on Apple’s iPad and cloud computing to build a better healthcare experience.

They offer a free EHR platform built on the iPad that is Meaningful Use certified.  drchrono is also the first iPad EHR to implement real time clinical speech-to-text. drchrono handles everything a doctor needs to run their practice, including medical records, electronic prescribing, medical billing, and patient management.  For more information, visit

The drchrono iPad EHR is 2011/2012 compliant and has been certified by InfoGard Laboratories, an ONC-ATCB, as a complete EHR in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments. drchrono version 9.0 was Stage 1 certified on June 3, 2011. The ONC certification ID number is IG-2492-11-0083


What got me was the claim in the e-mail that accompanied the press release. “Today, drchrono, a hot Y Combinator start-up focused on Apple’s iPad and cloud computing to build a better healthcare experience, announced OnPatient, a groundbreaking app that digitizes the medical practice waiting room,” the message started. This was the same claim that drchrono included in a media advisory earlier in the week.

Sorry, there is nothing “groundbreaking” about software that collects medical history electronically and automatically populates an EHR with this information. Instant Medical History, a program from Primetime Medical Software, Columbia, S.C., has been doing this for years. Though it is primarily a PHR vendor,‘s name betrays one of its products, a patient portal for medical practices that collects patient history online. is similar.

No, IMH does not have a native iPad app, but it’s worked on tablets going back to the bulky Windows tablets circa 2003, even if few customers actually chose that option. is Web-based, which means it’s accessible from any device with a Web browser such as, say, an iPad.

When I called the publicist on the “groundbreaking” claim, I got this back. “Of the physicians I’ve spoken to, the user-friendly interface of the iPad app really makes patient onboarding easy and they love the ‘novelty factor’ of using the iPad as well. It’s less intimidating for patients who have limited experience with healthcare IT.”

Fair enough. But that doesn’t make OnPatient “groundbreaking.” The iPad is groundbreaking. OnPatient is interesting, useful and frankly, long-overdue competition to Instant Medical History. I hope it catches on. But it’s not much of a breakthrough.

I can’t wait to see the breathless coverage from the other tech press who don’t know the, ahem, history (sorry, couldn’t resist). If you want the unvarnished, occasionally acidic truth, come here.

For that matter, here’s the company’s own message, via video:

It’s rather low-key, actually. I have just one question: Why do they say “tax breaks” for meaningful use? The money is in the form of Medicare/Medicaid bonus payments. As EMR and HIPAA readers know, those payments are considered taxable income. Just sayin’.


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Neil Versel

Neil Versel


  • You are absolutely right about DrChrono misrepresenting government incentives as a tax break. This may even make a doctor think that they get something for using DrChrono that they will not get with another vendor.

    CMS and InfoGuard should require that they revise the video. I doubt this was intentional on the developer’s part, but the content should have been reviewed before being posted. The certification information does appear correctly on their site.

    MacPractice announced MacPractice MD Clipboard for iPad in June, and it was released in July to about 100 beta clients for a testing period of 30-45 days before Apple will place it on the App Store. So clearly DrChrono’s was not a “groundbreaking announcement.”

    Mark Hollis
    MacPractice, Inc.

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