Our Product Journey

Categories: #LifeAtGR, Product, Vision

One question we get a lot from candidates as we recruit and add to our amazing team is, what does Grand Rounds do?

Candidates can see that we recently raised a $175M Series E; we won UCSF’s Digital Health Award for Employer Wellness & Prevention; we talk about interesting technical challenges; and our leaders are obsessed with growing their people —but it can be hard for candidates to understand what our products and services do.  I am going to shed light on this by sharing some history and a peek behind the curtain so candidates can better understand what Grand Rounds does and where we are headed.

Grand Rounds is here because managing your health in America is complicated, frustrating and stressful.  As a totally different kind of healthcare company, we’re changing all that.  We’re determined to raise the standard of healthcare for everyone, everywhere.  How do we meet such an audacious goal?  By harnessing the power of data and technology to access America’s leading physicians and healthcare resources for each and every one of our members.

We start by building a team of experts around each member’s unique health situation to make sure they get the highest quality care.  Then, through the power of our breakthrough matching algorithms, we connect our members to top-rated doctors and data-driven insights to make informed healthcare decisions.  But that’s just the beginning.  Today, Grands Rounds coordinates member care across specialties, provides Expert Second Opinions, fights inflated medical bills, and even helps members make sense of their health benefits.  We’re available 24/7 as an employer benefit to over six million people and growing.  Best of all, Grand Rounds doesn’t cost our members a penny.

But where did it all start?

Our Founding Story

In 2011, the youngest son of Dr. Lawrence “Rusty” Hofmann, Chief of Interventional Radiology at Stanford University Medical Center, was very sick.  Because of his personal medical insights and connections as a leading doctor at Stanford, Rusty was able to get his hands on some unpublished research which ultimately saved his son’s life.

This incident left him shaken.  While tremendously grateful for his son’s recovery, Rusty recognized that most Americans would not have been so lucky in this situation.  He wanted to change that.  He set out to democratize access to medical expertise and enable everyone to get the best possible care.

Living in the heart of Silicon Valley, Rusty recognized that technology could provide the power to reach millions but he couldn’t do it alone.  He was introduced to Owen Tripp, a tech-savvy entrepreneur with a passion for healthcare, and together, they founded Grand Rounds Inc.  Their vision was to create a world where everyone could benefit from the clinical insights and personalized care that exists when you have a doctor in the family.

Rusty and Owen also believed that if you got people to the right care at the right time, you could avoid wasteful healthcare spending.  Too often people inadvertently get the wrong diagnosis, over-treatment, even mistreatment, leading to complications, frustration and unnecessary costs.  With employers as the dominant purchasers of healthcare for nearly 50% of Americans, we saw an opportunity to deliver value to these target customers by getting their employees the best care possible and in turn, reducing overall healthcare costs.

Our founders had a bold vision and they would need to start with an idea that would deliver a big impact.

Our First Product: Expert Medical Opinions

Grand Rounds’ first offering was an expert second opinion product.  When someone (we call those we serve our “members”) has a complex condition and is unsure of their diagnosis or treatment plan, they can come to Grand Rounds and we will connect them to a world-class expert on their condition to assess their situation and provide a recommended strategy for care.  We hold our members’ hands through what can be an intimidating and unnerving process.  We collect their medical information.  We answer all of their open questions and take all the time they need.  If our members are contemplating back surgery, or struggling with an undiagnosed condition, or concerned about their new cancer treatment, Grand Rounds can help.

Today, as a result of guiding people to our nation’s top physicians for second opinions, we have changed members’ treatment plans and diagnoses 66% of the time!  Think about that — 2 out of 3 members coming to us were not on the optimal treatment path or had the wrong diagnosis.  Can you imagine the anxiety and pain that a member feels when their health is not right?  We felt good about getting people on a better path to health, people like Inge, and we knew we could do so much more.

Our Product Evolution: Healthcare Navigation

The insights we gleaned from delivering expert medical opinions inspired us to expand into healthcare navigation to address members’ needs more holistically.

The high rate at which we found our members received the wrong diagnosis and care got us thinking about the quality of local providers they were seeing.  Were they qualified to treat the member’s specific condition?  Did they have a proven track record and evidence of good, consistent outcomes?  What could we learn about clinicians’ specializations and strengths, as well as our members’ preferences, to determine how best to match members with the right provider for them?  And would this lead to better healthcare outcomes?

Guided by our data science and human-centered design, we matched members with high-quality clinicians that were uniquely skilled to meet their needs.  As a result, our members experienced tangible improvements in their health outcomes as well as cost savings achieved by avoiding unnecessary healthcare spending.  Now we needed to turn this incredible insight into a service that members would use and love.

Anyone who has used the U.S. healthcare system knows how complicated and hard it is to navigate.  Our members expressed many questions about health benefits: What was covered by their medical plan?  What kind of doctor visits did their plan cover?  What expenses would they be expected to pay?  Did they have other benefits available to them?  We saw a big opportunity to help our members better navigate the healthcare system to ensure they could make informed decisions and get additional support to address their longer-term, holistic healthcare needs.  We refer to this product as Grand Rounds’ Personal Healthcare Assistant (PHA).

The vision for our PHA is a seamless combination of world-class clinical and care professionals, technology, and an intuitive product experience.

  • Clinical and care professionals help with diagnosis and treatment recommendations, emotional support, healthcare literacy, benefits navigation and issues more effectively addressed human to human.
  • Technology utilizes data, engineering, data science and machine learning to generate insights and build the systems necessary to assist each participant in the member’s healthcare journey.
  • Product experience shapes a seamless path for members, leveraging the best of human and technology support, to navigate members to their optimal outcomes based on their desired preferences, goals, and constraints.

Our PHA knows how the healthcare system works.  It also knows our members and their families.  It understands their preferences, benefits and financial situations.  PHA can even predict our members’ needs.  The PHA understands that health is both mind and body.  PHA understands member’s local healthcare options and which ones they can access.  PHA readily shares data insights and expertise with the providers managing member’s health to improve the quality of their care.

With support from customers like The Home Depot, Walmart, and Salesforce, as well as positive feedback from our members, like Patrick, PHA has quickly become our fastest growing product.  We continue to invest in shaping the product experience by expanding our data platform, our care team tools, as well as our clinical offerings and expertise to find more ways to navigate our members to high-quality outcomes and savings for our customers.

The Next Chapter: Virtual Primary Care

Earlier this year when COVID-19 hit the U.S., many of our members and customers looked to us to help them with problems accessing trusted doctors in a safe and timely manner.  Our team sprung into action and delivered a telemedicine product in ~6 weeks!  This virtual healthcare product helped our members access clinical expertise quickly, addressing everything from COVID symptoms to deferred care for other health conditions or emotional support during this crazy year.

But we are aiming to deliver much more than the legacy model for virtual care.  Our newest area of focus is to reinvent primary care, specifically leveraging our technology and team.  Along with the member and physician insights we’ve gained, we’re bringing to life that founding vision of having a “doctor in the family” in today’s digital world.

There are few things as influential in a member’s healthcare journey as their primary care physician.  They are meant to diagnose you appropriately, write your prescriptions, refer you to the right specialty care and catch behavioral health issues.  We know there are myriad issues with the way primary care is delivered today and we believe there is more we can do by designing a virtual-first primary care experience.

There is so much opportunity to use our strengths in navigation, data and member experience to rethink how healthcare should be delivered and ultimately, build a better version of healthcare for all.  And given the high adoption rates we are seeing with telemedicine, further accelerated by the pandemic, this is the time to build our new reality of virtual primary care.

Shaping our Future

I hope this gives you a glimpse into who we are as a company, our mission and what excites us about our future.  We wake up in the morning wanting to change healthcare for the better.  We use technology and data to disrupt the complicated healthcare system and ensure members have access to the information and support they need to benefit from the best care possible.  Virtual primary care will most definitely not be the last expansion of our product offerings.  We have many more ideas up our sleeve and welcome the opportunity to hear your ideas as well!

We would love for you to join us in tackling our bold mission, impacting the lives of millions of people in meaningful ways and building amazing products that you can be proud of.  Check out our open roles today!