Epic Systems

Epic Systems is the largest EHR provider in the United States, covering over 50% of patients. I was responsible for starting their UI Liaison initiative, increasing coverage and visiblity for the UI Design team, and assisting with usability research during their annual User Group Meeting.

Lessons Learned

  • Healthcare is a particularly challenging industry to be a designer in, as the users/customers are change/risk averse and there are many regulations to have to grapple with.
  • It can be incredibly difficult to enact change in large organizations, and the best approach is usually to run a small pilot program and gradually expand it.
  • Though it was my first job out of undergrad, I learned quickly that this wasn't an environment I wanted to be in, and that I much prefer smaller teams with bigger impact.


After discovering the world of Human-Computer Interaction my Junior year of undergrad, I completely dove into my studies, and by the time I was finishing my Take 5 and looking at the job market, I knew I wanted to go into User Experience. Epic seemed like the perfect opportunity to both get experience of software development at scale but also to have an impact and utilize my skills. When I joined Epic in July 2011, there were 5 full-time designers and approximately 700 developers.

UI Liaisons

After spending some time working with the design team and with a few application teams, I realized the issue wasn’t that the designers didn’t know what they were doing or there were no standards/guidelines, but that developers either didn’t know about them or didn’t pay attention/care.

In the interest of helping standardize the development process across the company and to improve UX, I developed a program that would give 1-3 members on each application (typically a QA or Software Developer) the title of UI Liaison, and they would serve as the gatekeeper for any new development by their team, giving them UX training and also a direct line of communication to the design team.

We added a UI sign-off step to the development process where Liaisons would ensure new development was following the company style guide, and where they could escalate any design issues to the core UX team. There were also quarterly meetings with Liaisons from all applications to get feedback on the style guide and to allow teams to share what’s working well and what isn’t in terms of process.


The program received full buy-in from the Core Design Team and from upper management at Epic, and at the time of my departure had successfully been piloted with the Professional Billing team and was in the process of rolling out across the entire company. Unfortunately I wasn’t there to oversee that process, nor do I know if it’s still in place today.

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