How is Sherpaa different from a primary care doctor? That’s a question we’re always asked at Sherpaa.
Sherpaa is your guide and advocate throughout your entire healthcare experience. We are:
- accessible, local, well-networked doctors
- who communicate via email and phone
- who will treat you when appropriate
- and/or guide your entire healthcare experience from beginning to end
Our doctors are salaried. They are paid for good communication and doing what’s best for you. They understand that healthcare is extremely confusing and difficult to access and their primary goal is to guide you, treat you, and make healthcare crystal clear and efficient for you.
Traditional primary care doctors see patients in their office and see as many as they can to maximize their revenue. They are paid for office visits and procedures. The more they do, the more money they make. Their main focus is office visits in the exam room. If they are emailing you or talking with you on the phone, they are losing money. If they refer you to another doctor, once you are out of their office, you are on your own. Coordinating your care takes a huge amount of time and that time is not reimbursed. They are not paid to be your advocate in an increasingly chaotic healthcare industry. No professional works for free, especially when their time is valued at $200 an hour.
Let me compare and contrast the traditional vs. the Sherpaa experience. This is a true story that recently happened.
With a traditional primary care doctor:
You visit her in her office. During her exam, she notices you have a lump/nodule on your thyroid. She says you should go see an endocrinologist. She gives you a referral and a name. You leave the office and now you’re on your own. If you forget to ask a question, you can make another appointment. You call up the endocrinologist and are told the next appointment is in six weeks. You anxiously wait the six weeks. The endocrinologist says you should see a head and neck surgeon and they give you a random name. You leave their office and call up the surgeon. The surgeon’s receptionist tells you the next appointment is in 5 weeks. You take the appointment and, again, you anxiously wait. You arrive for the appointment and are told the surgeon recently stopped accepting your insurance. You’ve got a lump on your thyroid and you’re on your own. You call your primary care doctor and are told the next visit is in 3 weeks. And so on and so on…
You visit a primary care doctor who finds a nodule on your thyroid. You leave the office and shoot our doctors at Sherpaa a message via our app. We call up the PCP and ask about the findings. We’re told it’s a 4cm nodule. Your PCP recommended you see an endocrinologist. We call up our endocrinologist and get you in to see her tomorrow. After the endocrinologist sees you, he texts us his recommendation for you to see a head and neck surgeon because you’ll probably need a consult to get the nodule taken out. We call up our head and neck surgeon and get you in to see him in 2 days. We give the surgeon a call immediately after you’ve seen him to find out next steps. Within a week the nodule is found to be benign and removed.
It’s a wildly different experience. Sherpaa is just doing what doctors should be doing— being accessible by any means necessary, communicating well with you, treating you when appropriate, and guiding you and acting as your advocate throughout your healthcare experience making healthcare crystal clear for you.
photo from Eugene Smith’s, Country Doctor.