Rachel Woodward

Rachel Woodward: A Healthcare Executive’s Perspective on Healthcare

It’s a healthcare executive’s perspective on healthcare from Rachel Woodward on this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast with Rob Oliver. Rachel is from California and brings the perspective of the millennial generation (Generation Y.) Furthermore, Rachel Woodward is the CEO of Datapro, a medical billing company.

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Here are 3 things that stood out as Rachel Woodward shared a healthcare executive’s perspective on healthcare:

  • Quality healthcare must be both timely and include a preventative element.
  • Access to quality healthcare, and healthcare in general, is a significant concern. It is especially important in situations where delays can impact patients’ everyday lives.
  • One of the bright things about the future of healthcare is an increasing recognition and openness about mental health issues.

You can learn more about Rachel Woodward and Datapro through the links below:

Website: http://dataprobillingservice.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/dataprobillingservice
Instagram: http://instagram.com/_rachelwoodward_
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-woodward-128164151/

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Here is the text of Rachel Woodward sharing a healthcare executive’s perspective on healthcare:

Introduction to Rachel Woodward

Rob Oliver: Thank you and welcome. Glad that you are here today. My guest is Rachel Woodward. She is a healthcare executive who is located out in California. She is a member of the Millennial Generation. She is officially the CEO of DataPro, which is a medical billing organization, and I am delighted to have her on the podcast. Rachel, welcome.

Rachel Woodward: Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here.

Rob Oliver: Absolutely. So, easy question. Tell me about yourself and your role in healthcare, please.

Rachel Woodward: I like to say that my role in healthcare started when I was young, sitting around the dinner table, listening to my mom, who had a very small medical billing company that she started when she had me, so that she didn’t have to go back to work and she could stay home and just make a little extra cash. And I would just hear her talk about insurance claims and what she did to get providers paid. So that was just, I think, my first exposure to it. I went to college, thought I was going to be in sports marketing. I’ve always been a super active person. I got my yoga teacher training certification and did that throughout college, also have my personal training certification. So from a fitness and health perspective, it’s always been something that I’ve loved and have been passionate about. After college, I ended up doing sports marketing. I interned for the Dodgers for a bit and then worked for the PGA Tour. And I just really felt so uninspired. I hated it. I was just, I didn’t hate it. It just didn’t feel like my thing. I kind of had a moment where I was like, you know what, I quit. I’m going to go do personal training and teach yoga. So I did that for a few years. And that was right around the time when insurance started covering substance abuse and mental health services on a facility level. So my mom, who had primarily had her small business in psychology, was in the loop for some of this facility billing that had started to happen. And so she got pulled in and overnight, this company went from just her and her home to she was having people come to the home and work there. And it just grew really fast, which was honestly really cool and really just inspiring to watch. And then a couple of years into it, it hit a plateau. And she had hired all these people, rented office space, had a company incorporated. And basically it had started to level off and decline. And she was like, I really have no process. I have no idea what’s going on. I’m losing customers. And I’ve always been really operational. I’ve just kind of got that OCD, attention to detail mind, and a little bit of background in marketing. So I said, let me come in for just a year or so. I’ll help you get some processes in place, help you with your marketing. And that’ll be that. And within six months of just really working in the business and seeing what my mom and these people were doing to get just individuals who need treatment and need help coverage, it was a super rewarding and it almost fueled this love for health in a deeper, more meaningful way than my experience with training and nutrition and yoga. So that’s 10 years later, I’m still doing it. I’m still really passionate about it. And it really is something that just feeds my soul. And I think that access to healthcare is something that is so lacking in the US. And yes, maybe we all have access, but I wouldn’t consider it a superior service. And I just am grateful that I get to be part of what I like to think of the difference.

Rob Oliver: Sure. Yeah. And it’s so interesting. I hosted another podcast for entrepreneurs and what you’re talking about is so relevant from that perspective. So many people, they have a passion, they have a desire and they go into business with that. The everyday, running a business, scaling your business, putting processes in place, having employees, making sure that you are getting all of the clients that you are serving, meeting all of their needs. It’s a whole different thing. And even from me as a speaker, there is a big difference between what happens when I get up on stage and do a presentation about quality healthcare and the day-to-day running of a speaking business or two very different entities and two very different skills. So I understand exactly where you’re coming from. So let’s do this.

Defining Quality Healthcare

Rob Oliver: Tell me, what does quality healthcare mean to you?

Rachel Woodward: To me, I’ve thought about this question quite a bit over the last few weeks. And to me, quality healthcare is preventative. I think that that is something, it’s preventative and it’s also timely. And these are two things that I think our healthcare system specifically lacks. And I think if we can improve that piece of it, the system as a whole will improve. That being access, when things just maybe don’t feel right, everyone has their annual physical that’s now covered, but other than that, a lot of people have to pay a $90 co-pay to go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel quite right and they put it off and it ends up compounding and becoming something bigger. And the second thing I would say is just the timeliness. I hear all the time about people that are personal to me who call and say, hey, I need to have this procedure done, but it has to go through this authorization process. Do you know of anything that can speed it up? And so, again, just to kind of go back to your question, timeliness and preventative.

Rob Oliver: Interesting. I had a guest on who was one of the first people that was able to convince HMOs to have health incentives built into the system. So if you are going to the gym, they’re going to cover that because it’s going to help you to be a healthier person and ultimately will reduce the cost of your healthcare over the long term, even though there’s not a direct correlation, but it’s funding good health choices will prevent future issues. And I think that’s a very interesting take on it. The access as well. I will mention this. I interviewed patients from around the world, and we talked about healthcare and talked about the way that they receive healthcare in other countries. And none of them feel like their country has it exactly right. So that is, it’s both comforting and scary to think. You’ve got, you know, however many 100 and some odd countries around the world and none of them have it exactly right. So there’s a lot of work to be done. But I think that you’re spot on when it comes to preventing and then making sure that there is access to healthcare. Can you talk a little bit more about the concept of access to healthcare? Is it just speeding up the process by which people receive the services that they need or is there more to it than that?

Rachel Woodward: Well, I think that it’s definitely, when it comes to more severe situations, maybe you need a surgery or you have an autoimmune disorder and you can’t figure out what’s wrong with you. And you’re bouncing around to specialists, but specialists, in order to see this specialist, you need a referral or, you know, this special, you know, this, I see this a lot where endocrinologists, there’s a huge, huge backlog to see an endocrinologist in Los Angeles. I mean, I don’t know if it’s, you know, state specific or, you know, geographically specific, but there are certain things that require, maybe it’s not immediate attention, but where people feel like my everyday life is being impacted. And I either have to bounce around all over the place trying to get a referral, or I just, you know, the soonest this doctor, the specialist can see me is in three months. Well, the problem is now. And so I don’t know, you know, what, unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what the answer to that is, but I think that our insurance industry, and that’s what I’m very familiar with because I work in it.

Rob Oliver: Right.

Rachel Woodward: I think that the insurance industry, they hold all the cards and I don’t want to jump ahead to one of your other questions because I have a passionate answer, but I think that, you know, the insurance industries hold a lot of the cards and I wish that that was not always the case.

Rob Oliver: Right. And that’s, this is a theme that I’ve heard through many interviews before, and that is why when we are looking for a plan of treatment, the first question becomes what kind of insurance do you have? And it is the insurance company that is determining your plan of treatment rather than your medical professional. And that’s, we may get into that as we move through the interview and move through the next question.

An Example of Quality Healthcare

Rob Oliver: So can you give me an example of quality healthcare?

Rachel Woodward: Something that I consider quality healthcare, I love to see like HSAs and HRAs, health savings plans from, from employers where they give a certain spending allowance and you’re able to spend that on, it doesn’t necessarily need to be on, you know, a basic office visit. If you, if you need to go to a chiropractor or if you need to go to alter some sort of alternative medicine therapy, there’s a certain fund set aside where people can choose what kind of treatment they need. I like, I mean, I like the idea of that. I love, I think telehealth has really helped with the access issue. The fact that now physicians are able to prescribe an antibiotic to someone who might be in a rural community and need an antibiotic, but doesn’t, isn’t able to drive, you know, an hour and a half to see a doctor. So I think there’s certain things that, that are really helping, but there’s obviously still a lot of work to do.

Rob Oliver: Sure. And I think there is a, there’s a balance that needs to be seen there. And that is so for somebody like me who has a disability, sometimes transportation is an issue. So being able to have a telehealth visit where I’m seen without having to leave the house is a tremendous convenience and it opens up a lot of access. But at the same time, there are secondary issues that may not be seen because I’m not actually being seen in the office. They’re not looking at, you know, for example, my legs to see if there’s swelling in my legs or to see if there’s discoloration in my hands or any, any of the indicators that might be there are not being seen because it’s, it’s literally just a face in a box, but it’s, it’s a balance that you’ve got to find between the two of them to do access.

Rachel Woodward: Totally.

Rob Oliver: You have access to care, but it’s not in depth care and there needs to be the balance to say, okay, sometimes people need more in depth care than just the telehealth visit. Does that resonate with you at all?

Rachel Woodward: Oh, absolutely. I would definitely say that an in-person anything, right, can sometimes be more effective and more thorough and overall just a more connected experience.

Rob Oliver: Sure.

Rachel Woodward: But, you know, there are certain occasions, like I said, where I just think that the telehealth and just having the option to do both is a positive thing. You know, I’d also say another example of just quality health care, in my opinion, is just like individual empowerment, understanding your body, understanding health under just having knowledge. I mean, knowledge is power. And so I think that having knowledge and understanding about your body, your health, what feels good to you, what does not feel good to you, when to ask for help and when maybe you can, you know, do a little bit of research and say, like, maybe, you know, this diet isn’t working for me or, you know, I think empowerment is really key to quality health care. And if the more people know and the more people understand both their own personal health and then also like the health care system and how it works and how to get the care they need when they need it, I think that those are two really key components to quality health care.

Rob Oliver: And there’s a personal responsibility that the onus of knowledge has shifted. It used to be, you know, in the 1920s, you went to the doctor and the doctor knew everything and you really didn’t have the knowledge. And now the information is readily available. You can Google, you can keep track of your electronic medical records, all of those things. And it’s all there. Okay, good. So we’ve got five minutes and we’ve got three more questions to get through. So you’ve been answering all my questions very well. And it’s my fault for falling behind. But here we go. What do you wish people understood about your role in health care?

Rachel Woodward: So maybe what I wish people understood is how much goes on behind the scenes on a daily basis to get insurance companies to do what they’re supposed to do. Not all the time, but there is a lot of stuff that insurance companies do to withhold money and prevent people from getting treatment. And it makes me sad. And I just am such an advocate for what I do. And I feel a lot of purpose behind what I do because of what I see. So I just, you know, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes, I think, than just the doctor’s visit.

Rob Oliver: I try not to be a conspiracy theorist and everything, but sometimes I wonder if there’s not an algorithm in the insurance industry in which every fifth case just gets booted. Not because of anything wrong with the case, but just because, hey, let’s see if we reject this. Will they just pay it out of pocket or what will they do and see where we go? But that’s a topic for a different day.

Rachel Woodward: Yeah.\

The Future of Healthcare

Rob Oliver: So what excites you about the future of healthcare?

Rachel Woodward: I mean, what excites me is to see, like I kind of mentioned before the HSA, HRAs, I like seeing that people are at least talking about and starting to take little actions to open up the idea of what health is. I like seeing some Eastern medicine stuff come into US discussion. I like that mental health is a topic now that didn’t used to be, I think that there are a lot of people struggling who, you know, who didn’t always feel comfortable talking about it. So I, you know, that is, that makes me hopeful. But again, I just, I kind of keep going back to, I always go back to just your own personal empowerment and knowing like your own body and knowing that there are resources out there and you just have to find them and it might be hard, but there is a way and there are people who are willing to help you. And it’s just about finding those people.

Improving the Quality of Healthcare

Rob Oliver: Right. Excellent. All right. Last question for you. And that is, what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?

Rachel Woodward: My answer to that is I think that medical professionals can either hire someone or invest in a third party company or I, but someone who knows the operational piece of their business, physicians and medical professionals went to medical school to practice medicine. They’re good at medicine. And I’m not saying that they’re not going to be good at, let’s say insurance billing or accounting, but that’s not their wheelhouse and insurance is complex. And I think that they, the best thing that any practitioner can do for their company is again, to hire someone who has the time, who has the knowledge and the skills to go out and make sure that they’re getting paid with their own, because that’s how they’re going to be able to provide exceptional care to their patients.

Rob Oliver: It’s funny. I feel like the conversation has come full circle to say, medical professionals, they get into this business because they are passionate about helping people. They have an expertise in medicine, whatever their branch of medicine is, whatever their role is in the healthcare system, they didn’t get into it to run a business. And sometimes the business end of it is difficult and you’re dealing with, as you said, complex issues with insurance and just a whole variety of things that are not medical in nature, that are part of running a business. So yeah. Fantastic. Rachel, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate you and I respect your perspective on healthcare.

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.

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