Online Doctor Care?

A New York Times article highlights an enterprising young doctor, Dr. Jay Parkinson, who wasn’t interested in a stereotypical practice. Instead, he started his own company, Sherpaa, and “saw” patients by email and text messages. He’s grown his company to “eight employees, including two primary-care physicians, and counts 500 customers from 30 companies. Sherpaa’s network includes 100 specialists to whom it refers clients” and is marketing to corporate wellness programs with claims of saving them money, even with 24/7 access. “Sherpaa claims that it can save companies up to $4,000 a year for each employee. (It charges $50 a month for each employee.)”

While the article is more focused on Dr. Parkinson’s journey, we at Geldin would like to focus on the enterprise and the opportunity for corporate wellness programs and health care cost savings. From the article, we expected to see that doctors are reachable 24/7. What we didn’t expect is that they also help in finding the most affordable prescription options and solving questions with insurance companies. They even help companies find the best insurance plan for their employees, either working with an existing broker or acting as a consultant to find the right plan and broker. In reviewing their website, we see that they focus on saving time, stress and money for both the employee and the employer, but only in New York City.

Their blog actually provided the most concrete example of the difference in using Sherpaa vs a Primary care physician. With a typical primary care physician, you are left on your own should they provide you with a referral to a specialist. And you typically wait impatiently until the specialist can fit you in. However, Sherpaa acts as your advocate by contacting the primary care physician to get the specifics about the referral, setting the appointments and following up with the specialists so that you, the patient, continue to move through the process much more quickly, without the weeks of angst waiting for appointments and results.

What do you think about this service? Would you use it if your employer had the service? Would you, the employer, explore this service as an added employee benefit? If you’re interested in their service expanding to your area, let them know. Please do share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We look forward to conversing with you!

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