How do I go about hiring a programmer?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by raynegus, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. raynegus macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    I know I can place an ad in the local want ads. Is there any other resource particular to programmers I should look into? I need someone talented.

    I am not a programmer (which is why I need one!). I'm a doctor and need someone to execute the ideas I have for a medical software program. The potential for earnings are enormous, but I could not pay much in the beginning. Basically I need a partner to share in the profits later. What to do?

    Oh, and it will likely be on Windoze (sorry!). Maybe they can do a Mac version too (?)

    Any advice appreciated.
  2. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    Before you even start you should double check and make sure that the software you are envisioning doesn't already exist in the market, starting a software development effort from scratch is costly. Not only do you have to worry about finding a programmer, but support structure, packaging, testing, marketing, etc.

    Unless you are planning for something just for your practice, maybe you don't have to worry about all of the above, however, could you justify the cost of developing the package vs. finding something that can meet your needs?
  3. TitaniumX2 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2002
    St.L., MO
    Speaking as a programmer and owner of a company, let me first wish you good luck and point out some potential difficulties:

    1) You are not in the right venue if you are looking for Windows programmers.

    2) Most cost $100-$120 per hour that I know, and they need to spend roughly $4000 for softare and MSDN subscriptions to maximize productivity. Finding one to work gratis upfront on something that they aren't passionate about will be an uphill battle. (needing a minimum of 40+ hours to get a rough working skeleton in place [not including features, core functionality, etc., just up & working, doing the uber-basics] means the programmer loses a possible $4000+ in worktime.)

    3) Medical software (having tangentially encountered it when contracting and interviewing with various firms) is mind-numbingly complex, with physicists writing the models, Monte-Carlo statistical computation charts (which cost thousands to license) for radiation, and the corresponding hardware [medical] that you will likely need. One company ran originally on Next machines and upgraded with OS X to Macs and sold every installation that way, so platform isn't so much an issue as is implementation, portability, and scalability.

    4) I'd like to reiterate, search for competing products, they likely exist, just out of your price range (that same company tended to only sell $10 million installations with a server array, several Mac desktops, and more, all custom configured, which takes a sizable staff.)
  4. tace macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2003

    Dice is where you can post to hire a programmer especially for a contract project like this. If you have the "functional" expertise, you might consider approaching a small software company and working with them to produce such a software. First, you need to get them to sign an NDA, non-disclosure (and compete) agreement. This is so that they don't rip your idea off after they talk to you.

    Hope this helps. And please don't be discouraged. If it wasn't for people like you than most of the great inventions, sw, etc. would not exist today.
  5. JesseJames macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2003
    How'd I get here? How can I leave?
    Leave a trail of RAM chips where they hang out. Most likely Star Trek conventions.
    Then hide around a corner and when they come by collecting the chips; club them.
    Tie them up and take them home. Feed them Hot Pockets and Mountain Dew for optimum work output.
  6. raynegus thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    Thanks for the responses so far.

    My problem is that I am a recent graduate and have no money to finance something like this. I'd like to work on it on the side with someone. Maybe I could get a graduate student to work on it with me, since they generally are not in the market for a high paying job anyway. I'm looking for more of a partner than an employee. Is that a bad idea?

    The program itself is not complicated at all. It is a database charting program for patients (history, examination, treatment, etc). I could write it myself in FileMaker but then it would not be a self-contained program (it would not be a "real" program). I have looked at a number of programs like this already on the market and they are poorly written and extremely expensive for what you get. Average cost is about $12,000.00 for a single user. And these programs are real bare-bones basic. I'd like to incorporate diagnosis assistance and other ideas I have.

    I know I can do a better job than what is out there. I've discussed the idea with a number of docs and they said they would likely buy a program like this. Do the math, if I sell 1000 of these at $12000 each, that is $1.2 million.

    I'm confident I could sell at least a thousand, probably a lot more. I would not mind marketing it myself and doing demonstrations around the various medical schools. But am I being overly simplistic? I don't want to start on this thing and have it not pan out. I'd rather spend time with patients...

    The thing that keeps bringing me back to this is the number of colleagues that have expressed an interest in buying something like this. I keep hearing this "cha-ching" in my head!
  7. KingSleaze macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2004
    So. Cal
    1000 times 12000 = 12000000 . Insert commas for ease of readability 12,000,000. Looks like 12 million to me. But I'm not a programmer, nor even a college graduate. Good luck to you on your project.
  8. raynegus thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    Oh yeah, it is 12 million. Anyway, its a hell of a lot of money especially to me since I graduated 2 weeks ago with $250,000 in student loans...
  9. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    The trouble is that you might want it to be HIPAA-compliant and this is a huge deal. Security, privacy, and interoperability are the main reasons for HIPAA and any healthcare software on the market should be compliant.

    If you want to receive results from a lab, that's not too difficult but you'll have to deal with HL7 messages. While you're adding in HL7 compatibility, you might want a transcription interface. You also might want to pre-register a patient for their lab work with a local hospital or clinic and that's going to add complexity.

    I know from prior experience that it takes much more time to design it right the first time so that you don't have to fix the design later, trying to add on extra functionality that you didn't have time to do at the start. In healthcare, there's not usually a second time to get it right.
  10. gbojim macrumors 6502

    Jan 30, 2002
    I have a small software development company. We might be interested in working on your project but obviously need much more info.

    Email me at if you're interested.
  11. fossicker macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2004
    things to keep in mind are:
    1) projects are almost always more complex than they seem at first glance.
    2) when you say the expensive programs are "poorly written" -- I'm guessing what you mean is "awkward user interface". There's more to good software than slick screens, because
    3) while it's important for all software to be as bug free as possible, it is critical when it comes to information that could, theoretically, kill or hurt someone if the software is defective. Medical software needs to be rock solid and thoroughly tested and retested. This also means
    4) there's probably some litigation/liability issues to be considered, which might be part of the reason why the existing software is so expensive.
    5) the $12K software probably also includes a higher level of support than you would be willing/able to provide.
  12. oldschool macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2003
    I think the problem is that beyond appointment details and billing, most doctors don't want to be typing on a computer charting during a patient visit.

    There are lots of programs that will collect lab results, and perform the appointment tasks.

    4D client is one of them.
  13. cubist macrumors 68020

    Jul 4, 2002
    Muncie, Indiana
    There's nothing wrong with developing it in FileMaker, FTM. You might even get some help from Apple down the road. And wouldn't that make it cross-platform?
  14. NMR Guy macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2002
    How do I go about hiring a programmer?

    You should be able to hire a few dozen off a street corner near Sun Microsystems for around $6/hour. ;-)
  15. raynegus thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2003
    Thanks everyone.

    By poorly written, I mean unstable (although it might have been the doc's PC). :rolleyes:

    It's funny because I did an internship with the guy and he knew I was a Mac head. Occasionally the program would run very very slow and he would say "I wish this thing worked on macs". He would have to go back to a paper system until his PC friend arrived to fix the thing.

    The tech support for this program is indeed extensive but they charge up the yin yang for it. Typically they will send several techs out to install it and show the office staff how to use it. They have programs particular to a discipline, such as dermatology, urology, etc.

    Now I am curious, if I do write this in FileMaker myself how do I make it a self-contained program? I've written pretty good stuff in FileMaker before.

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