Health Literacy Month: The Journey of a Hero
1. How long have you been working at Vohra Wound Physicians?
Over 8 years ago I began working with Dr. Vohra providing wound care as a general surgeon in the Northeast. Eventually I moved to south Florida and took on an executive role in our practice operations.
2. What is your current title?
Vice President of Operations
3. How did you get started in the healthcare industry?
I actually started out pursuing veterinary medicine but changed my path after I studied abroad in Thailand. Exposure to a broader global world made me realize that I wanted to make a larger direct impact on people’s lives than that which was possible in the veterinary field.
4. Where did you go to school?
I received my bachelors in science from Worcester Polytechnic institute. I attended University of New England for medical school before my general surgery training in the UMass system and vascular training at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
5. What are you currently doing to improve health communication and health literacy?
As VP of Operations I direct our revenue cycle and payer affairs. Understanding what insurance pays and doesn’t pay and being able to read and understand the bills from your doctor’s office is a challenging and frustrating problem for physicians and patients. A lot of the work I do is to make this process easier and more understandable. There is a term, Health care Numeracy, that speaks to this problem. Numeracy is the ability to understand numbers and statistics used when understanding one’s own care. For example, you are being treated for cancer and the doctor tells you this treatment usually has a 60% success rate. What does that mean? What does it mean when an insurance sends you an explanation of benefits that says it is only paying $25 but the doctors charge $125? Do you have to pay the difference? These types of numbers and their implications are an area we can vastly improve in how we help our patients.
Health care is one of the last industries without transparency into how it bills and is paid for services. A bill should be clear as to what it is for and what is owed to whom. It is also important to deliver value to the patient. Value for patients is defined as what outcome is important to them at what cost. I am working with many of our payers to create payment models under which the outcome of the patient is what determines if payment is made for the physician’s services. This is the delivery of value based health care.
6. What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy running marathons, gardening, cooking and spending time with my family: a daughter and two sons.
7. What upcoming events will you be attending?
I will be attending The Institute for High Value Care in Louisville at the end of this month to work on how we can bring value to our patients and payers.