“Grand Rounds answered all of my questions with explanations and reasonings that made me comfortable with not going to see a specialist in person. They also prevented me from putting myself financially in the hole even further with more tests and doctors.”
Several weeks after Kim had a complete hysterectomy, she found herself experiencing discomfort. Concerned about her pain, Kim’s treating physician ordered a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis.
“The results showed no issues regarding my surgery, but a large mass in my liver was detected. Immediately an MRI was scheduled using a special liver dye that would confirm the more common benign tumor. Unfortunately, the hospital didn't have the dye available so a standard contrast was used and therefore the nature of the mass was still left unconfirmed,” said Kim.
Without an answer, Kim reached out to her gynecologist who recommended a liver specialist.
Why Kim Went to Grand Rounds
Fortunately for Kim, her health did not have to wait.
“I got an email about Grand Rounds from Starmark® (1) . It spoke of second opinions at no additional cost, and I jumped at the option,” said Kim.
After Kim called Grand Rounds, she was connected with her Patient Care Team who matched her with an expert physician, Dr. Jennifer Lai, a leader in hepatology at UCSF Medical Center.
“The Grand Rounds app was very easy to use and the coordinators were very easy to work with. They did all the work in contacting my doctors and obtaining all the records they needed and they did it much quicker than I'd have imagined. It’s certainly more convenient than taking off work to visit another physician! I live in a rural area and would have had to go out of town several hours away to see a specialist and probably would have lost at least two days of work, one for the initial consult and another for the testing/scans,” said Kim.
Rural counties make up 72% (2) of United States' land, accounting for 46.2 million Americans who, like Kim, don’t have access to top medical personnel nearby.
However, with access to Grand Rounds, Kim did not have to worry about traveling to get the care she needed. Instead, she received a remote second opinion from a top specialist in San Francisco without having to step foot outside of her home in North Carolina.
Kim was diagnosed with a focal nodular hyperplasia, a non-malignant tumor that is made of liver cells. More commonly found in women than in men, it most often appears in individuals ranging from 20 to 50 years old.
“The opinion I received was very in-depth and explanatory in a language I could understand, not doctor-speak—it was written in layman’s terms without talking down to me. It confirmed the radiologist’s feelings that the mass was benign. Grand Rounds answered all of my questions with explanations and reasonings that made me comfortable with not going to see a specialist in person. They also prevented me from putting myself financially in the hole even further with more tests and doctors,” said Kim.
With her questions answered and her mind at ease, today Kim is following the recommendations from Dr. Lai to avoid any MRIs and to obtain a baseline blood test to further evaluate the health of her liver.
“I feel great! Despite never having a conversation with anyone in person, it never felt impersonal. I fully understand my condition. It’s a wonderful thing and I highly recommend Grand Rounds!” said Kim.
“This case illustrates wonderfully what we strive to do at Grand Rounds: provide patients with efficient and easy access to medical experts and in the process save patients time and money,” said Dr. Jacob Labahn, Grand Rounds Staff Physician.
1- Starmark® is the administrator of Kim’s employer-sponsored health benefit plan. Grand Rounds is not an affiliate of Starmark or Trustmark® Life Insurance Company.
2- USDA Economic Research Service website: Overview. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/rural-economy-population/population-migration. 5/2017.