What is your role at Decent?
I’m the Operations Lead at Decent. My role is to think through all the details of how processes and tasks actually occur and to ensure that they’re done in a scalable and optimized way. If one of our members gets admitted to a hospital, how does the front office staff confirm that they have coverage with us? If a member is navigating a difficult health care experience, how can Decent be there to support?
What is your background?
I started my career as a mechanical engineer with a masters degree in Acoustics. My thesis work focused on magnetostrictive materials — basically a magical metal that changes shape in magnetic fields! My first corporate job was with Knowles Electronics where I developed balanced-armature micro speakers for hearing aids and headphones. My favorite part about this job was being able to put a prototype in my ears and actually hear the difference that a design choice made, the blending of engineering and physics with art. (Pro tip: if you’re testing audio equipment before a big purchase make sure you listen to at least one song that you know REALLY well. My go to was Deacon Blues by Steely Dan. You’ll be surprised at all the new things you hear when you listen on a really nice sound system.)
After a few years working as an engineer I decided that I wanted to work more directly with people (my job at the time involved a lot of microscopes, oscilloscopes, tweezers, and microphones). I also realized that the problem solving aspect of engineering that I loved so much could be applied to general business processes like supply-chain management and customer service. After earning my MBA from the Foster School of Business at UW I worked as a consultant with the Performance Improvement division of Alvarez & Marsal where I helped corporations develop and implement strategic initiatives. I liked to think of the consulting firm as “family doctors” for companies, helping them stay healthy and vibrant.
Most recently, I worked for a traditional health insurance company. I led an in-house team of process improvement consultants that focused on ensuring that claims get paid correctly and efficiently. We had a positive impact, we stopped some forms of abusive billing, we helped fix processes that were leaving patients stuck in the middle and stuck with a bill that they shouldn’t be liable for, and we helped to automate and improve error-prone manual tasks. There were many days, however, where it just felt like I was trying to turn a giant shipping barge using single paddle.
Why were you motivated to join Decent?
So much of the US Healthcare system is made up of processes built on process with rules added on top and then more layers of rules to patch up holes and issues. This has been going on for nearly a century, and the result is a system that appears to be getting more and more complicated and tangled. I joined Decent to help reinvent how health insurance works. My goal is to blow up current state and rebuild it in a way that enables people to access the care they need to live happy and healthy lives at an affordable price. As soon as I learned about Decent’s mission and met the founders I knew I wanted to join the team.
Why is improving healthcare important to you?
Did you know that nearly 1 in every 5 dollars of the US economy is spent on healthcare? In 2016, health spend accounted for 17.9% of the US GDP. And did you know that healthcare spend per capita in the US is nearly double that of comparable countries? Unfortunately, we’re NOT twice as healthy as the populations of comparable countries. This just doesn’t make any sense to me, and the more I learn the angrier I get.
Describe something not-work related you are passionate about.
If given the choice, I’ll be out in nature. Being a new dad has made things a little more difficult but I’m really passionate about helping my daughter experience fresh air and the serenity of nature as often as possible. One of my favorite national park experience was visiting Zion a few years back and hiking Angel’s landing on day 1 and the Narrows on day 2. And my most recent favorite nature experience was camping with my family, waking up early with my daughter, and sitting quietly with her and seeing the world anew through her eyes. We picked up tiny pinecones and noticed how pokey they were. We saw helicopter seeds float down from super tall trees for the very first time. Quite a magical experience.