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MyConsult Enables Working Mom to Receive a Second Opinion from the Comfort of Home

Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseIt was 1996 when Lisa Walter Singley, a vivacious, young sales representative, started experiencing some troubling symptoms; symptoms that she had no idea, at the time, would impact her life for the next 14 years.

So Lisa sought the help of a gastroenterologist in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and underwent a colonoscopy and a series of other tests. When the results came back, Lisa’s physician determined that the diagnosis was likely Crohn’s disease.

Despite treatment, Lisa's symptoms remained volatile. Following a hospital stay in 2008, Lisa explored new treatment options with her physician to help manage her disease. But, when both intravenous and subcutaneous steroid treatments failed, Lisa turned to Cleveland Clinic.

“I had a network of friends and family members who had received excellent care at Cleveland Clinic for various health issues,” Lisa said. “I knew that if I was going to have surgery, I wanted to have it there. So, I went on the Web site to do some research and that’s when I came across MyConsult.”

The MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program is a sophisticated, web-based extension of Cleveland Clinic’s 90-plus-year role as one of America’s respected referral institutions. The secure, online program provides medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,200 life-threatening and life-changing diagnoses.

“MyConsult seemed like a great option for someone like me,” Lisa said. “I’m a busy, working mom so I was grateful for the opportunity to get an online second opinion before spending precious time and money traveling from Atlanta to Cleveland.”

From the very start of the MyConsult process, Lisa recalled having a positive experience. When she faced difficulty obtaining one of her test results from her hometown medical facility, she contacted one of the dedicated registered nurses from the MyConsult Clinical Operations team.

“I was so thrilled to reach such a kind-hearted person on the other end of the phone,” Lisa said. “When I explained my problem to her, she offered to handle it personally. I felt such a sense of relief.”

After sending all her medical records and test results to Cleveland Clinic, Lisa quickly received her second opinion report, completed by Bret Lashner, MD, Director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Department of Gastroenterology. His second opinion shocked her.

“Dr. Lashner indicated that after reviewing all 14 years worth of materials documenting my disease, he didn’t believe Crohn’s was the cause of my symptoms,” Lisa said. “Instead, he believed I was suffering from indeterminate ulcerative colitis.”

Lisa was overcome with emotions after learning that she may have been treating the wrong disease for over a decade. She had so many questions. Should she try a new therapy? Should she seek a different type of specialist in her hometown? Would she ever be able to achieve a better quality of life?

“Dr. Lashner and the MyConsult team stayed in constant communication with me during the second opinion process,” Lisa said. “Dr. Lashner recommended I make an appointment with one of his gastroenterologist colleagues who practices in my hometown, but had completed his medical fellowship at Cleveland Clinic. So, I did that right away.”

Following Dr. Lashner’s recommendation, Lisa and her new gastroenterologist in Atlanta decided she would try a different medication therapy, which requires her to take only four pills per day. Because of this slight change, Lisa saw an immediate improvement in her health.

“Because of the unpredictable symptoms I experienced for so many years, I battled feelings of embarrassment and depression,” Lisa recalled. “Not anymore. I was able to start traveling again for my career in sales, and I am more active in my children’s lives.”

Now, over one year since her MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion, Lisa feels great and has returned to her happy, active self. She says she feels confident and educated about her condition.

“Cleveland Clinic really does deliver on the promise of providing world class care to patients,” Lisa said; “even to patients who are hundreds of miles away. I would want nothing less for myself and my loved ones.”

Read more MyConsult Success Stories.