When Quantum Health Founder and CEO Kara Trott began working with healthcare clients as an attorney with Bricker & Eckler, she was amazed to realize how little the industry centered on the needs of healthcare consumers.

When Quantum Health Founder and CEO Kara Trott began working with healthcare clients as an attorney with Bricker & Eckler, she was amazed to realize how little the industry centered on the needs of healthcare consumers.

"When I was listening to all the challenges that providers were facing during their patients' journeys, I was like 'Wow, who's fixing that for the patient?' The answer was nobody," says Trott. Prior to joining Bricker, Trott designed and executed consumer intercept strategies for companies including Citibank, Ford, Walmart and Coke as a strategic marketing consultant and for international consulting firm RPA.

"Having come from mass merchandising and retailing, the challenges that people faced in the pathway to healthcare was exactly the kind of thing we had solved in other industries," says Trott. "I thought it was very strange in healthcare that nobody really understood or even sought to understand how the consumer experiences things."

"It's just all grown up as an administrative solution. It's very operationally efficient for productivity and claim processing, but that is antithetical to the caring and love that people need when they're going through this horrible journey," she says. Trott recognized the opportunity to do the type of meaningful work she desired. In 1999, Trott founded Quantum Health, a healthcare coordination and consumer navigation company.

Quantum provides services for self-insured companies with1,000-plus to 2,500-plus employees. Those clients see reduced costs their first year with Quantum, followed by an average cost reduction of nearly 20 percent by their third year. Member satisfaction ratings are 94 percent.

Before launching Quantum, Trott led two years of research into the "healthcare journeys" of 3,200 patients and over 290 physicians.

"I really wanted to establish that we produce value before raising our profile so high, because it's an industry dominated by seven major players. You have to work with them," says Trott, referring to large insurance companies like UnitedHealthcare, Anthem, Humana and Aetna.

She and her team determined that the average "journey" lasts 11 months, during which the average consumer will visit five to seven specialists and generate 30 to 45 claims. Most importantly, Trott's research determined that every healthcare consumer gets "stuck" at some point in the journey.

Disruptions in treatment programs along the healthcare journey lead to poorer patient outcomes and generate an unnecessary 20- to 30-percent increase in healthcare spending.

Quantum's mission is to help patients at those points of frustration. By providing multi-platform, personal attention and discussing the best course of action, Quantum improves patient engagement. Improved engagement leads to better recovery outcomes, increased preventative and wellness care and, in the end, reduced costs.

"It takes a long time in this industry to prove yourself, to be credible," says Trott. It took Quantum seven years to demonstrate its sustainable cost savings across different geographies, industries, demographics and plan designs. "We hit that point in about 2006."

In 2008, Trott added to the sales team and hit the market full force in 2009. Quantum has grown its membership at an average annual rate of 46 percent over the past four years; it has averaged 37 percent annual revenue growth and 46 percent annual staffing expansion in the same period of time.

In 2014, Quantum hired 190 people, and Trott expects to add just as many in 2015. (The company currently employs about 430 people, most of whom are based in Columbus.) The company that started with roughly $150,000 in revenue handled a claim volume of $3.4 billion in 2014.

Trott's measured and meticulously analyzed growth is indicative of her controlled leadership style. Earlier in her career, beginning with her work as a teenager in her father, Richard's, Trott & Bean architecture firm, Trott never pictured herself leading her own business.

"I thought it was an interesting theory to see if it could actually work in practice, and so I spent my time and my energy trying to understand what was going to work," she says of founding Quantum. Being an executive of a disruptive company is all about figuring a lot of things out.

"Leadership is about understanding what the company needs from you and modifying and managing yourself to be able to give it what it needs. Starting a company is not about creating a job for yourself."

Trott says she couldn't do any of the nursing, case management or other specialized positions on Quantum's staff. She tries instead to hire the smartest and most compassionate people for the jobs.

"You have to ask the right questions and then enlist other people in trying to figure it out with you-and you're there with your sleeves rolled up with them figuring it out."

FINALISTS

Laura Hill
President & CEO, Center for Balanced Living

Since 2000, psychologist Laura Hill, PhD, has applied her expertise to helping patients at the Center For Balanced Living, which Hill founded as a separate brand entity continuing her previous work at the eating disorders clinic at Harding Hospital. The nonprofit Center for Balanced Living is devoted to the treatment, research and building public awareness of eating disorders. Hill is an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the psychiatry department of the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Hill served as clinical director of the eating disorders clinic at Harding Hospital from 1995 to 2000; clinical director of Harding Outpatient Services from 1995 to 1997; director of the National Eating Disorders Organization from 1990 to 1995 and counselor on several university campuses through the 1980s and 1990s.

Beth Traini
Senior VP & Chief Transformation Officer, Mount Carmel Health System

Since 2013, Beth Traini has been leading the transformation of care delivery throughout the Mount Carmel Health System as SVP and CTO. Her work is aimed at moving from volume-based care to health management based on patient wellness and prevention. She manages an annual budget of nearly $250 million and leads 1,250 full-time employees. Traini has been with Mount Carmel since 1985 in positions including: special assistant to the president, SVP of corporate development and vice president of clinical services for MCHS Community Services Corp.