Sherpaa: Because health care is a lot like climbing Mount Everest
As any member of Fractured Atlas can tell you, we’re huge believers in harnessing technology to make things simpler, cheaper, and more pleasurable. A number of forward-thinking companies have been applying the same principle to health care, and we’re making an effort to highlight them on our blog. Since no one can feel great about the state of health insurance and health care in this country, we want to send a virtual high-five to the people who are a force for positive change and modernity in an industry that is mostly depressing.
Have you ever fantasized about being able to email your doctor a photo of a cut on your finger, and have them be able to quickly email back medical advice and the address of a plastic surgeon in your neighborhood, who takes your insurance, and is available to see you in half an hour? Does your fantasy continue to have the bill be half what it would have been if you had gone to the Emergency Room?
This NYC-based start-up company is currently offering this service. Founded by Jay Parkinson (who is a doctor and has a wonderfully outspoken blog here), Sherpaa provides members with Guides: in-the-know doctors with a passion for giving personalized attention to patients. In need of advice? Call or email, 24 hours a day. If your Guide can solve your issue then and there, they will. If they need to refer you to someone else, they’ll send you to someone they trust.
They refer to this service as Triage 2.0. By keeping you out of the Emergency Room and Urgent Care Centers (unless there is no other option), you get better service, you feel like you are being actually cared for, and everything is less expensive, for both you and your insurance company.
Right now, Sherpaa is only available as a perk that employers can offer their employees, and they currently have five small businesses that they serve. Here’s hoping that this Brooklyn-based start-up can show the world how it’s done, and that before long, this level of customer service and cost-reduction will be commonplace in the world of health care.