Grand Rounds Blog

(And the reason Dr. House really hates clinic)

Fans of TV’s “House M.D.” may remember the namesake doctor to rarely smile, but he was least unhappy when he was helping his team unravel seemingly impossible medical mysteries.  By contrast, the show’s producers went to lengths to show how unhappy Dr. House was with clinic (where he had to treat any patient who walked in off the street, regardless of how severe or minor their condtion).  He didn’t hate clinic just because he’s a legendary misanthrope, but also because clinic took up hours for him to give simple by-the-book care to many patients whose problem any competent physician could solve.   Dr. House may have never put it in words, but he had figured out the hundred billion dollar mismatch: every hour he spent dealing with sniffles and coughs was another hour didn’t get to spend diagnosing the cases that only he could solve.

His time was scarce and valuable—the more tough cases he saw, the more lives he could save.  The healthcare system in general (and his patients in particular) were best served by him making his knowledge as widely available as possible.  Of course, in the TV series, he was limited by geography: he was only able to help patients who were transferred to the (fictional) Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.  But today, thanks to digital health advancements, leading specialists with national reputations can weigh in on cases nationwide.  Geography is no longer a barrier to accessing the best specialists at hospitals from Harvard to University of San Francisco; from UCLA to the physician group affiliated with Duke.

Real Savings for the Healthcare System
By allowing a leading national expert to intervene at highly leveraged moments in the healthcare system, large savings can be realized while improving patient care.  A prompt diagnosis can avoid needless tests and exploratory surgeries—not to mention countless blood draws, MRIs, and other sometimes unpleasant procedures for patients.  Performing the right procedure the first time can eliminate the need for redundant surgeries and dramatically cut costs (and recovery time).  By starting the optimal treatment plan faster, conditions can be halted before they worsen, reducing the total time and cost to a cure.  The current system’s failure to leverage national expert specialists at key moments contributes to the hundreds of billions of dollars of waste in the healthcare system.  Put more plainly, a small investment in the right expert at the right time can pay large dividends.  We’re not recommending that Dr. House see every case—but he can make a huge difference in medical mysteries.

Grand Rounds delivers this form of expertise, created by key national experts.  Employers purchase the Grand Rounds benefit for their personnel through a subscription program, generally making the Grand Rounds benefit available to at least all employees and covered dependents.  Employees and other covered personnel enjoy free unlimited access to Grand Rounds services; employers enjoy a significant bulk discount and a mutual incentive to increase utilization.  For our clients thusfar, we’ve seen a large savings dividend (through avoided tests, needless surgeries, and decreased productivity loss) they have been able to invest in other programs.

Maybe Dr. House didn’t know why, but his instinct was right that he could make the greatest difference by focusing on the toughest medical mysteries.  Here at Grand Rounds, we want to bring that same level of expertise to every major case—from orthopedics to oncology—and to deliver it with a smile.  Given that the show went off the air in 2012, it’s unlikely that Dr. House will take your case—but we can get some of the best specialists in the country to work with your local team to deliver the best possible healthcare to you.  We deliver this service across large employer populations, from the people who sit in the executive suite to the people who picked up the hammer and nails to build it.

Other things you might be interested in.
What Experts Wish You Knew About Physician Quality Ratings
Meet Grand Rounds: Ryan Valenzuela, Recruiting Coordinator
Should I Travel to See Family This Holiday Season? Dr. Tista Ghosh Helps You Think Through Questions to Ask Yourself