Sherpaa is one of those things where, once you experience a primarily online relationship with your own doctor, it’s hard to imagine going back to the old-fashioned “you can only talk to your doctor during an expensive exam room visit.”
We talk a ton about how amazing Sherpaa is and why you should be primarily communicating and problem-solving with your own personal doctor online, but what can’t Sherpaa doctors do?
We can’t do physical exams.
But the physical exam is a surprisingly uncommon critical piece in determining a diagnosis.
We can’t do minor primary care procedures that some primary care doctors do (like burning off warts or suturing simple lacerations).
If you need something like this, if it’s time-sensitive, urgent care is best. If it’s not, a random PCP visit found via ZocDoc will suffice. Primary care procedures done by a traditional PCP in an office are quite uncommon.
We can’t (or, rather, actively decided not to) prescribe controlled substances like pain killers or ADHD meds.
To avoid any element of fraud and controlled-substances, Sherpaa’s internal policy is no controlled-substances and our EMR does not allow our doctors to prescribe these medications.
We can’t do simple in-office (CLIA-waived) tests.
These are things like rapid strep tests or UTI tests. Fortunately, many of these tests are increasingly being sold in Walgreens. And if the test is absolutely the vital missing piece of a diagnosis (which is relatively rare), a quick trip to Walgreens or even their retail clinic is far less expensive and more accessible than a traditional PCP office visit.
We can’t be in the same physical room as you.
Sometimes being able to read body language is a subtle piece of a diagnosis. But over the years we’ve found that reading how someone writes about their symptoms often provides similar clues. Also, because a Sherpaa visit isn’t a rushed 10-minute conversation, and you can respond to your doctor’s questions thoughtfully and without pressure or interruptions, our doctors all believe we get far better information from our patients.
Sometimes you’re dealing with something very serious and emotional and the physical presence of a compassionate doctor is comforting. This is a perfect example of when in-person visits are vital. Luckily, most health conditions in the working age population are common bread and butter health conditions that aren’t super serious, emotional, and life-threatening.
But in those few extremely serious situations, your Sherpaa doctor’s role is to play real-time care coordinator to ensure you are in the same room as quickly as possible with the expert best trained in exactly what you need. This is best done via online communication so your doctor can best coordinate your entire situation, so you’re never left alone without a doctor advocate you can reach within minutes.