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Helping others on their ‘health care journey’
For Kara Trott ’91, the discipline and critical thinking skills she developed during her time as a law student at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law became instrumental in the founding of her company, Quantum Health. While taking on the role of CEO was certainly a challenge, her willingness to learn and dedication to the company’s mission has helped Trott lead her business to success.
The Quantum Health program reorganizes employers’ benefits delivery to help employees and their dependents better navigate a complex health care system, which reduces unnecessary costs simultaneously. The foundation of her company was built on the knowledge she had gained through beneficial experience, including working for Retail Planning Associates Worldwide, Bricker & Eckler LLP, and HealthServeLLC.
“You know your story by looking backwards, and you learn things as you go through your career,” she said.
Upon graduating from law school, Trott initially thought she would pursue a career in a large firm, with the goal of eventually making partner. With time, however, she realized that she might want to use her legal education to explore other options.
“I really like things that have tremendous intellectual challenge, but interestingly for me, I found that the practice of law was very reactive, not as proactive as I like to be,” Trott said.
Instead, Trott found her interests shifting toward the health care industry, which she had been exposed to during her legal career. Her passion for the subject was enough to convince her to take the risk of leaving Bricker & Eckler to pursue a new opportunity.
Along with a partner at Bricker, Trott began conducting behavioral studies and engaging in market research to learn about disconnects that often occur between medical professionals and patients. The results prompted three of the health care systems the team had been working with to jump on board with the project.
Quantum Health was created in 1999, and the concept began being tested and incubated with smaller, regional clients before the company raised its profile in the national health care space in 2009.
“In this industry you have to have enough members and companies that you serve across different industries and different geographies for enough years to prove that your model works consistently and that your company has the ability to create a repeatable experience,” Trott said.
In its first 10 years, the company grew significantly and proved its model, and, in 2009, Quantum Health launched a more significant sales and marketing effort on the national stage.
According to Trott, the company has been able to consistently grow while also generating financial outcomes for its clients. She hopes to see the business continue to thrive in the future.
“I think Quantum Health has an amazing opportunity to be the dominant player in the health care space and can be the one that really puts forward our understanding of the human experience of going through a major health care process,” Trott said. “We’re the ones who can help people have some safety and sanctuary to really process decisions during these difficult times in their lives, make decisions, evaluate options, and we can deal on their behalf with what people often feel are hostile or unfriendly parties that they encounter along their health care journey.”
As the company continues to grow and develop, so does Trott’s understanding of what it means to be CEO. She’s learned that her role is to set the vision of the company, while understanding the market dynamics and using her foresight to make decisions.
That responsibility, however, can also be daunting at times.
“It is extremely lonely because the big decisions and risks are yours,” she said.
But, according to Trott, utilizing the knowledge of others helps benefit the company.
“There are many people out there who can help the company in a lot of ways and know a lot more than I know,” she said. “They don’t know the vision; that’s mine to own, but I have a lot to learn from people. The more I listen and the better I’m able to listen, learn, and understand and then translate, the more successful we’ll be.”
Trott’s growing success with the company has been recognized many times, including most recently being ranked No. 26 on the Women Presidents’ Organization’s 2013 list of “50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in North America.”
Although she chose to take a different route with her legal education, Trott feels that the skills developed in law school can benefit students no matter where their careers take them.
“I really do think that the environment of the law school, the way you learn to approach problems, think through all angles and think critically, really prepares you for success in any variety of career choices,” she said.
Article by Shay Trotter