Startup Makes Doctors Accessible By Phone, Email
Quick Pitch: The startup offers members 24/7 access to Sherpaa‘s network of doctors by phone or email, for no additional cost.
Genius Idea: Sherpaa helps startups procure optimal health insurance plans.
Meet the health company that tech startups are choosing to cover their employees: Sherpaa.
Sherpaa specializes in matching startups with the best-fitting health insurance plans. High-quality care shouldn’t equate to exorbitant costs.
“It’s really confusing to secure healthcare,” co-founder Cheryl Swirnow, a HR guru with 10 years of experience, tells Mashable. “What we are seeing really often is either companies are overspending and having way too much coverage for what their employees are actually using. Or, they have selected the least expensive plan that doesn’t have enough coverage for what the employees need.”
Swirnow leads Sherpaa’s efforts in human resources. The process begins by surveying an organization’s employees to learn more about their needs. The HR team then prescribes the perfect insurance plan and goes to bid. The company does not benefit financially in any way from connecting startups with insurance companies.
For Sherpaa, helping inexperienced startups with complicated HR needs is just a small part of its overall plan to change the state of healthcare.
The New York-based company also offers members 24/7 access to doctors over the phone and email. Immediate medical advice is always available. Subsequent in-person care with a specialist is also attainable when necessary.
If you wake up with a bad rash or cut yourself at night, you can send a picture of it to a Sherpaa “guide.” The on-call doctor will either give you self-care instructions or schedule an appointment with an area specialist for a serious injury.
Doctors and specialists on-staff are also available to diagnosis mysterious aches and pains virtually. Doctors will ask the questions that normally apply with in-office visits. If it’s serious, the guides will be able to schedule an appointment with a specialist right away.
This process will cut unnecessary expenses and emergency room visits out of the healthcare equation. Prescriptions can also be filled over the Internet without a doctor’s visit — employees can save their vacation days.
“We want to increase accessibility to doctors in a sort of real way, in a really human way,” Sherpaa co-founder Dr. Jay Parkinson, who earned the title The Doctor of the Future after launching his virtual practice based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2007, tells Mashable.
Sherpaa was founded upon the idea that technology can make healthcare less expensive for patients. Behind the startup’s healthcare model is a decentralized network of nearly 100 doctors who believe it’s possible to reinvent healthcare.
“We just wanted to create a service that makes people happy,” Parkinson says. “In healthcare, it’s really unheard of. It’s really hard.”
The service is currently offering its services in New York and plans to expand to other cities including San Francisco soon.
Would you prefer to email or call a doctor in minor medical emergencies?
August 29, 2012