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Visiting the Doctor Digitally with the Help of a New Startup

Visiting the doctor digitally could lower health care costs considerably. A new startup is making it happen.

There are many reasons people avoid the emergency room—the endless waiting, the stench, the feeling of being lost in a sea of aches and pains. But what if you could skip the visit to the emergency room and your doctor altogether—at least in the flesh?

Soon, a prescription refill, answers to health questions, and even a diagnosis could be an email away. Sherpaa, a medical company for today’s digital world, allows their clients to connect with primary care doctors online or on the phone around the clock. The concept is simple—if a client cuts his finger, for example, he can snap a photo with his cell phone, email it to his primary care doctor (better known as a "guide" in the Sherpaa-verse), then have the doctor assess the damage and whether an ER trip is required. If a stitch is needed, they’ll give the patient instructions to care for the wound until a prompt appointment at a local specialist’s office can be made. In the end, Sherpaa hopes this will save patients thousands of dollars and hours of time, turning multiple doctor visits into just one whenever possible.

Co-founder Dr. Jay Parkinson told Co.Exist that Sherpaa’s main goals include lowering health care costs (the second-highest cost for businesses after payroll) for companies while providing a better patient-doctor relationship. Sherpaa steps in, analyzes how a company handles health care, then overhauls their plan for one that best suits their employees. They’ll often advise companies to give out a $2,000 debit card to cover the initial deductible—if an employee doesn’t use all of it, it goes back to the company, which ends up saving money in the end.

Sherpaa currently lists Tumblr as its only client online, but is reportedly branching out to other New York-based companies. “When you go to a company and explain to them what’s going on, within a few minutes, it’s a no-brainer for them to do it,” Parkinson told Co.Exist. “It just highlights how much waste there is in the health care system. That’s their business model: confusion.”

Via Co.Exist. Screenshot courtesy of Sherpaa

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