How is Sherpaa different from telehealth like Teladoc?

Sherpaa is Virtual Primary Care, not telehealth.

Telehealth (Teladoc and the other video/phone visit companies) is for pink eye and 30 other simple conditions. A doctor’s ability to diagnose and treat more than those 30 things is due to the limitations of a 10 minute phone or video conversation between strangers without the ability to order tests or follow-up with you.

Virtual Primary Care/Sherpaa treats ~1,500 conditions. If you give the same doctor the ability to work with you throughout an issue, from beginning to end, who is available within minutes who can also order tests to confirm suspicions, and work with local and online specialists to get their expertise, an online VPC doctor can do 95% of what a traditional office-based PCP can do.

Sherpaa hires full-time mission-driven doctors with at least 10 years of experience who are 100% dedicated to their Sherpaa practice.

Telehealth is “uber for doctors” who do video visits on the side or, for any number of reasons, have free time and want to make a small amount of extra money.

It’s not “Use Sherpaa for a small subset of conditions.”

It’s “use Sherpaa for all your care.”

70% of the time, those ~1,500 conditions will be managed without in-person visits and, of course, their associated claims that extract as much money as possible from employers and employees.

But for the other 30%, when you need to be seen in-person, we coordinate and manage your local care from beginning to resolution, with strategic, in-network referrals. Examples of this kind of care are potential appendicitis, a new breast lump, chronic knee pain that results in a knee replacement.

Our pricing structure is fair and simple.

Unlike Teladoc, where 70% of the company’s revenue comes from Per Employee Per Month fees, there are no PEPM fees as Sherpaa is strictly usage based.

Sherpaa charges $100 per episode of care— episodes of care can last 3 days for a UTI, 3 weeks for a pneumonia, and 3 months for a breast cancer scare. We believe doctors should be paid for solving problems, rather than maximizing how much they can bill you for as much as they can possibly do.

VPC usage is on another level.

Instead of telehealth’s 2-3% usage in a given year, VPC/Sherpaa usage ranges from 30 to 70%. Usage depends on two things:

  • How well Sherpaa is communicated to plan members
  • Making Sherpaa no cost for members as a strategy to prevent ~70% of claims because, prior to Sherpaa, people had no way to get physician-orchestrated strategic, appropriate local care before getting in-person claim-generating care.

Because usage is so high, Virtual Primary Care is a full scale healthcare spending strategy, not a solution for pink eye that 2-3% of people will use.

Spend cannot be reduced unless you fundamentally change what you’re spending your money on. Sherpaa redesigns the process of care delivery so that people go online first to get care and use in-person care only when Sherpaa doctors think it’s absolutely necessary. This enables our two-pronged approach to reducing total spend:

#1: Eliminate as many unnecessary claims as possible. Because 70% of everyday issues do not need in-person management (this is based on 7 years of operational data), at our theoretical best, Sherpaa can prevent 70% of in-person claims.

#2: Strategically direct as many in-person claims as possible. Our experienced physicians who expertly understand how in-person care is delivered know how they can optimize how and where people get in-person care. For example, preventing one $5,000 ER visit buys 50 VPC episodes of care. And arranging a knee replacement at a local free-standing surgical center vs. an academic medical center saves $30,000, which purchases 300 VPC episodes of care. Since each Sherpaa user creates 2.7 episodes of care per year, on average, this one knee replacement buys Virtual Primary Care for 100 people.