How does Sherpaa choose its network of specialists we refer to?

I’m been a bit silent lately. Sherpaa is moving to a much larger office in Soho on Friday and we’ve been quite busy. But here’s one of the many things we’ve been working on.


Sherpaa has an internal team devoted exclusively to building and optimizing a group of specialists our full-time doctors here at Sherpaa refer to when you need to be seen in person. This only happens about 30% of the time, but when you need to be physically examined, our mission is to send you to the highest quality doctor where you’ll have the best experience. Essentially, out of the 880,000 doctors in America, we’re curating doctors so we can send you to the best doctors who will provide you with the best experience. These doctors are rare. We look for the upper echelon of exceptional— the probably less than 5% that meet our definition of a doctor we’d trust with our own lives. So how do we choose our specialists? And how do we define an exceptional doctor? 

Our candidates must meet the standards of a proprietary 30-point weighted system before they’re considered. Next, we look at credentials. Are they board-certified in their specialty? How prestigious was their education? What have they published and do they have a professorship? Are they members and/or leaders of professional organizations? Most of all, we prize clinicians, as we believe that the more time spent with patients, the better.

Credentials are only the beginning. Sherpaa next performs an exhaustive search of  a candidate’s online presence, of how a doctor presents herself and of how patients perceive her. We’re likely to refer to someone with great Yelp reviews, for instance, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. We then investigate all available quality metrics. For example, we’ll consider outcome rates for procedure-based specialists or preventive care efforts for primary care doctors.

Part of our commitment to a great patient experience is ensuring that the medical treatment as well as financial obligations make sense. Our doctors take patients’ insurance nearly every time. We also ensure our doctors aren’t part of the sliver of doctors receiving a large amount of payouts from insurance companies. We want to avoid, at all costs, doctors who overbill insurance companies and patients.

If a prospective specialist passes this test, we move the conversation offline and into their practice. We choose physicians and practitioners with great personalities; who enjoy their profession and nurture their interests; whose offices are orderly and comforting; and who appreciate timeliness, kindness, and efficacy. 

Our system for assigning potential specialists a weighted score includes the following:

  • Their personal website must be high quality and value beauty and clarity
  • They take more than 5 major health insurance plans
  • Their practice size is less than 10 physicians
  • They graduated from a well-regarded American medical school
  • They have a professorship
  • They’ve published academic journal articles
  • They are members of their respective professional affiliation
  • They’ve been in practice between 5 and 15 years
  • Yelp must have above 4 stars and 20 yearly reviews
  • Healthgrades must have over 4 stars and over 10 yearly reviews
  • ZocDoc must have over 4 stars and over 20 yearly reviews
  • They speak English and Spanish
  • Their bedside manner is top notch
  • Their office is well designed, with exceptional staff, and minimal wait times
  • They are one of the top 10 specialties to which we refer

Our team is constantly researching new doctors, looking for the 5% of doctors that meet our criteria, adding them to our referral network, engaging with them on a regular basis, and ensuring the reviews our patients leave within Sherpaa sustain our decision to include them.

We’re curating doctors to add meaning to the list of 880,000 doctors in America we all have access to on the internet or on our health insurance company’s website. Massive lists are meaningless. We’re doing all the work for you so you have access to a curated group of specialists who meet our definition of an exceptional doctor.