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Allen Irvine '20

Technical Solutions Engineer at Epic

Major in Biochemistry, Minors in Chemistry and Economics

In his new position, Allen will help hospitals improve healthcare software to fit their needs.

What does your new position involve?

Epic makes healthcare software which is widely used by hospitals in America and abroad. You probably know about them because they make MyChart, but they do a lot more with electronic health records than just that. My position is a technical solutions engineer (TSE), and in that role I'll work one-on-one with hospitals who use Epic to help them troubleshoot problems and find solutions. More than just a help desk role, TSEs are often involved in the creation of innovative solutions to problems which end up becoming permanent changes to the system, enabling everyone to benefit from the resultant improvement.

How did your time at Knox prepare you for this job?

At Knox, I was exposed to a wide variety of ideas, and I was tasked with thinking critically about them. Through discussion and lab, I learned to work collaboratively, and as a TA and tutor, I learned to facilitate discussions about problem-solving methodologies. A big part of my job is problem-solving, which will require those same skills of critical thinking and collaborative work. It's also a computer software job, and despite only taking the intro [computer science] classes at Knox, I feel prepared to adapt to this new challenge, to climb this mountain, because I have, from those classes, a solid foothold in computing, and through my liberal arts education I learned how to climb. Those skills, which render me with a basic competency and the ability to continue to learn, will be indispensable in the future, at this job and any other.

How did you hear out about Epic?

I heard about Epic from a variety of sources, so it just kind of seemed like a place I should look into. The brother of my friend, James Cook '20, has worked there for the past couple of years, so I first heard about it from James, but I applied when Epic came to campus for a career fair. When I told some of my professors I was considering the company, they told me of recent graduates they knew who had gone on to work there. It seems like Epic likes Knox alums!

What are you most looking forward to about your new position?

I'm looking forward to their management style. Through the conversations I've had with current employees who represent a variety of positions, I get the impression that Epic strives to break free from the rigid hierarchy of the "corporate ladder" model. Sure, I'll have a boss, and my boss has a boss, and so forth all the way up, but in terms of avenues for promotion, managers seem very keen to help people do what they want to do and what they would be good at. 

What makes this job important to you?

Over half of all Americans have records in Epic's systems, so the company is increasingly looking towards how it can use its data to improve patient outcomes. Through all kinds of data analytics, they're able to figure out if treatments are really working, study how environmental racism impacts health, and optimize hospitals’ response to public health crises—say, a pandemic. All of this information can be used by health professionals, which helps their patients receive the best care. 

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024