Making a Difference in Health Care

Rebecca Patterson '18

Jordyn Burger ‘14  currently works at athenahealth, Olin’s third largest employer and a company that specializes in cloud-based electronic health records, patient engagement, population health management and medical billing services for providers and health systems. We spoke to Jordyn earlier this fall about her job as a user experience (UX) designer and what it is like working alongside other Olin alumni.

Jordyn and her coworkers dressed as Zoolander for athenaoween (athena goes all out on halloween)


Tell us about athenahealth and what you do there.
I'm actually one of 20 or so Olin alumni at athenahealth, where several of us work in the R&D department. I work on the EHR product (clinicals), where every day I am thinking about provider workflows and how we can make our product best suit the needs of providers of various specialties (from internal medicine to OBGYN and ortho).   What I love most about athena is that it's a super-collaborative environment. We have an open floor plan, and sit with our cross-functional (PM, Dev, and UX) teams. We have design brainstorming sessions, and the level of energy often reminds me of Olin.

Are you able to incorporate your engineering background into your job as a UX designer?
Yes! I find that my problem solving/communication skills as well as my design background are key to my success as a UX designer.

What advice do you have for Oliners who might be pursuing a different path from engineering?
Your engineering degree allows you to do so much - it's more than just the technical things you learn. The people-centered aspect of our Olin education gives us a unique view at thinking about problems, which I think can be applied to so many things in life.

What is a typical day like?
I spend my time writing user stories, thinking about the user journey, and being the voice of the user while creating visual mockups for the team. I meet daily with my subteam (which is actually majority female, with 7 out of 9 women developers on my team) for scrum, and collaborate with my working teams about design concepts and user workflows regularly.

What do you feel you are doing that's innovative?
athena's mission is around becoming America's health care backbone. We update our software every month (which is the benefit of being a cloud-based company), and stay on top of key industry and government trends. One of our big wins is around our interoperability with other EHRs and devices, which I think is really important to helping providers understand a patient's story.

What's it like working with Oliners in the real world?
It's wonderful! I worked a lot recently on a project with a member of the class of 2011, who has become probably the best mentor I've had to date. I learned so much from him in the ~5 months we worked together as lead and execution designer on our subteam. It's great to see familiar faces, but also to have teammates with the same background as me, which makes using some UOCD techniques a lot easier :).

How did your time at Olin prepare you for the real world? Looking back, how did Olin help you get to where you are today?
Olin taught me how to think about a problem, particularly with a user in mind. I feel comfortable with ambiguity, and approach working with new people with excitement and a smile. Being a UOCD ninja was actually one of the most informative and empowering experiences of my time at Olin. It gave me the confidence to speak of design to others, which has been critical to my job now. In general, I always say that one of the greatest gifts Olin gave me was confidence. As a former olinsider (Admission’s) blogger, I summed it up here.

Do you have time for fun? What do you like to do?
Heck yeah! A group of us 2014ers go to trivia every week, and I'm starting to pick up reading/writing. This past summer was full of kayaking on the charles, and concerts galore. I recently signed up for my first half marathon (what!?), and I go to the farmer's market in Somerville almost every week :).

Advice for current students?
Appreciate the environment you're in at Olin. You may never be surrounded by such passionate and intelligent doers as you are now. Most importantly, don't sell yourself short. You are doing amazing work, even if your project fails on demo day. Be confident and recognize the work that you do for your teams, and do great work that you are proud of!

Posted in: Making a Difference