How Virtual Primary Care Saves Time, Money, and Stress for Simple and Complex Situations

We recommend reaching out to Sherpaa (Virtual Primary Care) for anything that’s not an emergency. Sherpaa members create cases within Sherpaa’s app for things like “I’m sick” or “I’m hurt.” Within cases, you can send messages, attach photos, see test results, read specialist reports about an in-person visit, approve prescriptions and choose your pharmacy, and learn about your diagnoses. Cases can be simple to complex and last for minutes to months. Because this is a new concept, we’ll explain typical types of cases.

Simple Case: A UTI

You woke up with UTI symptoms. You launch the iPhone app, create a case, and describe your symptoms. Since you get these once a year, almost like clock work, you know what you’ve got. In your description, you also mention that you’ve never had a complicated UTI and always respond well to antibiotics. You submit your case, a few minutes later our doctors respond with a message and ask you a few more questions. You answer them almost immediately. Based on your responses, our doctors prescribe you an antibiotic within the app. You choose your pharmacy and pick up the antibiotics an hour later down the street. Three days later, you get a message from our doctors asking for an update. You report all is well!

Moderate Case: Pneumonia

Your cough started as a cold about three weeks ago. This morning you developed a fever and your cough seems to be worsening. You fire up Safari on your laptop, create a Sherpaa case, and describe your symptoms in about 2 paragraphs. You submit your case. Twelve minutes later, your Sherpaa doctor responds with 24 questions asking for more detail. You notice these are the kinds of questions a doctor would ask you in their office. You respond thoughtfully and a few minutes later you get a message from a Sherpaa doctor asking you to go to Chelsea Diagnostic Radiology a few neighborhoods away to get a chest x-ray. Your Sherpaa doctor orders the test from Sherpaa’s platform which sends the order to the radiology center. You go and get the test. About an hour after you got the test, you get a new message from Sherpaa. You fire up the iPhone app and see the radiologist has diagnosed a mild pneumonia in your left lung. Your Sherpaa doctor prescribes an antibiotic and explains other things you can do at home to help you feel better. You approve the prescription in your app, choose the pharmacy down the street, and an hour later you pick up the antibiotics. Twenty four hours later, your Sherpaa doctor asks for an update. You say your fever broke and your cough might be getting better. Two days later, your Sherpaa doctors asks for an update. You’re now feeling much better but you’re reminded to take the rest of your antibiotics. A week later, your Sherpaa doctor asks for an update. You’re back to normal.

Complex Case: A scary new lump

This morning, while you were showering, you felt a hard lump on your testicle. It didn’t hurt when you pressed on it and you’re terrified. You go to, log in, and create a Sherpaa case describing what you felt. Ten minutes later, you get a message and 26 questions to answer. You answer them and 3 minutes later you get a phone call from your Sherpaa doctor. She lets you know she’s worried and wants you to go to the local imaging center to get an ultrasound. She orders the test via Sherpaa’s platform, calls up the radiology center to speak to the radiologist to request an urgent test. An hour later, you’re getting the test. An hour later, you get a phone call from your Sherpaa doctor. They found something suspicious. You’re terrified but reassured when Dr. Gonnella says she’ll call you back in a few minutes. Meanwhile, Dr. Gonnella has texted the local urologist that offers bundled pricing for procedures asking him to squeeze you in this afternoon. He can, so you go to the visit. The next 48 hours seem like a whirlwind, but two days later you’re home after surgery. You get a call a day later and the surgeon says the pathology report confirms testicular cancer that had not spread anywhere else.

Complex Case: Moderate, persistent asthma

You’ve had asthma most of your life. You’ve wound up in the ER and admitted a few times over the years when it flares up in the spring. It’s April and you feel it coming on. You launch the iPhone app, create a case, and tell us how you’re feeling. A few minutes later, you get a message from your Sherpaa doctor with a series of questions. You respond to them and 20 minutes later, you get a prescription for some medications and a peak flow meter (an inexpensive device that measures the severity of your asthma). You choose your pharmacy down the street and an hour later you get an alert from Walgreens that everything’s ready to be picked up. An hour later, you get a message from your Sherpaa doctor asking about your peak flow along with a YouTube video describing how to properly use the peak flow meter. You report back with a number that’s not great. Your Sherpaa doctor sends an action plan to check your peak flows regularly and what do when the numbers aren’t ideal. Over the course of the next month, your Sherpaa doctor checks in every few days to see how you’re doing and adjusts your medication doses accordingly. A month later, your asthma is under control and you’re enjoying the spring flowers.