We’re a refreshingly unique health service for health plans. And there’s nothing else like Sherpaa out there.
Sherpaa is a 7 year old health services company that pioneered Virtual Primary Care (VPC) to offer plan members the easiest way to get care— we’re a group of exclusive doctors accessible 24/7 within minutes via desktop or our app. Just launch our app, describe what’s ailing you, and, if helpful, attach some photos. Your Sherpaa doctor will respond with plenty of questions. We’ll be your doctors throughout issues to diagnose and treat you, order tests when necessary, prescribe medications within the app, answer all your questions, and, if needed, arrange care for you with local specialists. Most of the time, in-person doctor visits are unnecessary. You use Sherpaa for anything a primary care doctor or urgent care center would treat, from simple infections to complicated, ongoing issues.
Want to learn more? Set up a time to talk with our founder, Dr. Jay Parkinson.
Sherpaa currently works with forward-thinking health plans across America.
Giving plan members easy access to affordable primary care at a fixed cost (rather than fee-for-service) prevents inappropriate usage, gives people a medical home reachable from anywhere within minutes, and strategically directs costly downstream in-person care from local specialists and facilities.
Continuity with patients solves the limitations of traditional video/phone telehealth.
If the same doctor can work with you on your issue for days to months on end, it massively increases the breadth of conditions that can be handled virtually. If that same doctor can also order tests at local imaging centers or labs to confirm suspicions or coordinate your care with local specialists, all of a sudden they can manage ~95% (~1,500 conditions) of what an office-based PCP can handle. That’s because a physical exam is very, very rarely the missing piece of a diagnosis. Since TelaDoc and the others can only safely diagnose and treat ~30 simple issues (pink eye, etc.), Sherpaa is more similar to an office-based PCP than a video doctor.
Being online and 24/7/365 accessible to patients in 48 states makes comprehensive primary care available to all.
When you marry the scale, convenience, and access of telehealth with the personalized, continuity found in Direct Primary Care, you get Virtual Primary Care.
Sherpaa is virtual primary care + care coordination for expensive downstream care powered by doctors who are aware of your unique plan structure at every point in their decision-making.
Say you’ve brought in to a client Grand Rounds for second opinions or Omada Health for diabetes management or Sano Surgery for bundled pricing for predictable procedures and SimpleSaveRx for medications. Imagine employees with primary care doctors who, during the clinical encounter, see the other services the employee has access to and can coordinate a bespoke plan with these services. Sherpaa doctors see, as part of each employee’s profile, the available suite of benefits. Most doctors out in the wild could care less about a patient’s benefits and they surely aren’t playing on your team as they’re incentivized to maximize their bills. On the contrary, Sherpaa doctors have the employee’s benefit details and work with them to formulate the most cost-effective strategy to resolve their issue. This means Sherpaa doctors can help employees find:
- preferred surgeons for predictable procedures
- medications on a unique formulary or unique procurement method
- labs and imaging at preferred local facilities
- preferred local specialists
Sherpaa uses messaging, photos, phone, video, and ongoing relationships with the same doctors
We leave it up to the patient to decide how they want to communicate with us and they choose asynchronous messaging (email-like rather than real-time messaging) 95% of the time. About 25% of the time, patients share photos. And we jump on the phone or video only about 5% of the time. Patients can always call us at any time if they’d like via our app.
How much does Sherpaa cost?
We charge either employers or health plans $100 per “episode of care.” There are no initiation fees nor any PEPM fees.
“Episodes of care” are created by Sherpaa members on desktop, iPhone, or Android. The types of episodes are:
- I’m sick
- I’m hurt
- I have a chronic health concern
- I have a mental health question
- I need a referral to a specialist
- I need a prescription or refill
- I need surgery or a test
- I have a different concern
An “episode of care” can last anywhere from 5 minutes (think UTIs) to 5 months (think a breast cancer scare with multiple messages, tests, and care coordination). No matter the length or complexity, Sherpaa charges a flat rate per episode. That’s because within any population, there’s a very predictable rate of simple (lots), moderate (lots), and complex (a few) cases. And in the end, it all averages out to one simple cost that makes working with Sherpaa easy and transparent. On average a user will create 2.7 episodes of care per year, on par with how people traditionally use primary care. You can then estimate costs based on number of plan members and expected engagement (we see typically 50-60% of employees with access to Sherpaa use us for primary care).
We solve 70% of issues without in-person, claim-generating visits
And when plan members do need to be seen in-person, because we’re doctors who have already gotten a good history and understanding of the situation before a claim was generated, we know exactly what the member needs, so we efficiently and cost-effectively coordinate local care with specialists and facilities. Most of the time, this turns many visits and weeks of hassles into one targeted in-person visit. Our tech platform we built from the ground up enables us to optimize and customize each step in our one-of-a-kind care delivery process.
Sherpaa scales to plan members in 47 states
Except for Alaska and Arkansas. That means we’re primary care that’s 95% as effective as office-based PCPs that scales to all employees most everywhere.
Traditional primary care is in disarray
Currently, plans are paying ~$25 per employee per month for traditional office-based primary care from doctors out in the wild. We all know today’s standard primary care is in disarray and it’s diametrically opposed to plans.
Doctors out in the wild:
- Are the antithesis of team players as they bill patients and payors as much as they can
- When making clinical decisions around treatment strategies or referrals, they are unaware of costs and they don’t think they should have to be cost-conscious.
- They are unaware of bespoke strategies each employer or health plan has put in place for their group to lower costs and improve the member’s experience
- Have ~70% overhead consumed by the 3 to 4 staff working for each doctor, the brick and mortar spaces they occupy, the inefficient processes needed to get reimbursed
- Are highly unproductive making them unnecessarily expensive (EMR documentation to maximize reimbursement consumes 40% of their day)
- Are happy to bring members into their offices unnecessarily because they make far better margins on the quick and simple things at the expense of the convenience of the member and the productivity of the employee
- Prescribe any medication they feel like, price be damned
Strategy: Use “no cost to the member” Virtual Primary Care as a trojan horse to strategically direct expensive downstream care.
If you give today’s version of traditional primary care at no cost to them, that wouldn’t be smart. But primary care that can:
- Diagnose and treat 95% of what a traditional office-based PCP can for a fixed cost, without the variable costs and inconveniences of office visits.
- Scale to all plan members anywhere in America
- Be available 24/7/365
- Be powered by cost-aware doctors who, at each point in the clinical decision making process, are privy to each member’s bespoke strategies put in place by their health plan
- Coordinate in-person care anywhere in America with preferred local specialists, labs, and facilities
- Serve as coordinators for predictable procedures performed at surgical centers that offer bundled pricing per procedure
- Do all of this for a fraction of the cost of today’s $25 PEPM messy primary care costs
Primary care doesn’t really move the needle. But a reimagined process of getting care and coordinating expensive downstream care does. When primary care rethinks itself, becomes a team player for plans and employers, and is a fraction of the cost, it should be given away. It becomes the Trojan horse that gets ahead of the downstream costs that truly drive most of the messy spend:
- Unnecessary in-person cost abyss care at specialists, ERs, and urgent care
- Procedures hawked by doctors who make more by doing more and charge professional and facility fees at nonsensical prices
- Medications prescribed by doctors who have no idea how much they cost
Sherpaa in Action
Sherpaa Onboarding for Members
An Overview of Sherpaa’s App
An Episode of Care
Hear from the Clients