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Stories & Snapshots

Why We Do What We Do: User-Centered Design

Epic’s Cathy Fisher has designs on simple, tailored workflows for providers

Whether it’s through film studies, written media, or software design, Cathy Fisher is fascinated by learning how people experience the world around them. In her work as a user experience designer at Epic, she strives to make healthcare experiences more seamless and effective for providers and patients.

“Healthcare has a lot of moving parts, and design is involved in all of them,” Cathy said. “We’re focused on making people’s lives better, from the patient to the clinician at the bedside and all the way through the health system.”

Walking in clinicians’ shoes as they provide care helps user experience designers understand specific needs, and it’s key to design at Epic.

Immersion trips are critical,” Cathy said. “We need to understand clinicians’ day-to-day lives and how they interact with our software. It’s a totally different environment, with different noise levels and lighting, when physicians are in the ED versus when they’re seeing patients in the clinic.”

Back in Verona, Cathy shares what she’s learned from users of Epic with other Epic staff through classes, presentations, or one-on-one collaboration.

“The UX team’s goal is for everyone at Epic to incorporate design principles and meet our users’ needs so well that the system fades seamlessly into the background,” she said. “It’s great to see Epic staff advocate for user-centered design and ask for clinicians’ feedback.”

New software is tested by users, piloted for clinician feedback, simulated at Epic, or evaluated with tools like eye tracking to ensure that it’s intuitive and effective before it’s released.

“We’re always pushing for the ideal state,” Cathy said. “I love that the work I do has a measurable, positive impact on healthcare.”

Epic community members can read more about strategies for user-centered design on the UserWeb.

Photo: Cathy and teammate Kelsey Aiello design together.

“Why We Do What We Do” is a series of stories from Epic staff about how their work relates to their personal missions to help our community members serve their patients and transform healthcare delivery.