Princeternship stories: Eric Chen ’19, Epic

When I arrived at Epic, I met with Gina Davis ’10, who helped coordinate the Princeternship, to see a product demo of Epic software. The software suite that Epic produces is truly massive. Driven by the mission of one medical record for every patient, Epic produces software so that everything a hospital does—from routine checkups to emergency room visits to prescriptions—can be housed in one electronic record. Right now, an impressive 57 percent of patients in the U.S. are covered by Epic software, a number which shows how working at Epic really does impact millions of lives everyday.
IMG_20160104_163426655When I first met my host Todd Dale ‘09, a technical services engineer and technical coordinator, he was on a conference call supporting a hospital’s installation of Epic software. I quickly learned that because of the nature of healthcare software, technical support is critically important. For one, system downtime can have a very negative impact on hospitals. It doesn’t matter if the power goes out or natural disaster strikes, Todd works with hospitals to ensure that their particular installation of Epic software will have as close to 100 percent uptime as possible. In this call, I saw Epic’s core tenet of doing right by the customer. Todd and his team work one-on-one with hospitals to make sure that Epic software works for the customer as well as possible.

Even though Todd’s main job is technical services for hospitals, the open and flexible culture at Epic allows him to wear many different hats every day. For Todd, this means that he is also the lead developer of an internal staffing tool for team managers at the company—a tool that he started out of his own need.

At one design meeting, Todd was pitching a new website design to improve workflows for managers using his tool. I’m not too familiar with developing in teams, so it was great to see Todd balancing his own vision for features with the opinions and demands of others in the room.

As we were bouncing between meetings, I got a chance to see some more of Epic’s campus, which reflects the general workplace culture of innovation, creativity and fun. Todd works in the jungle-themed building, but we passed through a Scandinavian building, New York City-themed areas, as well as an Indiana Jones hallway, where we had our picture taken. 

As my day of shadowing Todd revealed, there is an infinite number of jobs that can be done at any point in time, so there is no reason to limit your work to your job title because, oftentimes, your best work will be a product of pursuing what no one else thought to do.

A huge thank you to Gina and Doug for taking time out of their day to help me, and especially to Todd who graciously let me shadow him and introduced me to the expansive and fascinating world of Epic and healthcare software.

Q&A with Vivian Ludford ’15

Vivian, a research analyst at Research Board, offers her advice for students in advance of the HireTigers Meetup on Feb. 12 atludford Frick Lab.

Q: What advice do you have for students coming to the Meetup?

A: Keep an open mind and think seriously about your short-term and long-term career (and personal!) goals, and what kind of role would best position you to achieve those goals. And study the job! Research the company to see if any alums work there (use the TigerNet alumni directory / LinkedIn as a start) and reach out to them! 99% of us are happy to talk and help.

I studied Comparative Literature/Creative Writing and had this vague idea that I wanted to write after college, so I was initially super turned off by the Research Board as a “technology think tank.” But after speaking with an alum (English ’05) as well as someone who was then currently in the role I was applying for, I realized that the job actually very closely aligned with my long-term goals—even more so than the entry-level publishing/editorial jobs I’d originally targeted. Now I get to talk to smart people, read interesting things, and write about all of it for a living. #blessed.

Q: What are you most looking forward to speaking about with students at the Meetup?

A: I just generally want to know about the students. Like what do you do in your free time? What keeps you up at night? What new foods are they serving in Whitman dining hall? Who is third-floor bickering whom? I want to know everything!