Sherpaa Aims to Streamline Healthcare for Startups
After Jay Parkinson completed his residency at Johns Hopkins and started practicing medicine in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2007, he set out to make doctor-patient communications as seamless as possible. His patients logged onto his Google calendar to make appointments and note their symptoms, which triggered an alert on Parkinson’s iPhone. He made house calls and took payments via PayPal. “It was about leveraging technology to make healthcare more accessible,” Parkinson says.
Now Parkinson is bringing his brand of healthcare to startups in New York via Sherpaa, the company he co-founded earlier this year to provide employees of startups with immediate access to physicians. Sherpaa has already signed up about a half-dozen clients, including NYC tech companies Tumblr, Skillshare, and Timehop. And last week, Parkinson announced on his blog that Sherpaa had raised $1.85 million from O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, First Round Capital, and Collaborative Fund. Parkinson says the company will use the funds to boost its offerings in New York and to plot an expansion to other cities flush with startups.
Here’s how Sherpaa works: The company either recommends health plans for a new client to purchase, or it works with plans that are already in place at those companies. Sherpaa spends about 15 minutes interviewing each employee to get “a baseline” of his or her health status, Parkinson says. Sherpaa then provides all employees with around-the-clock e-mail and phone access to its on-staff “guides,” who gather information about symptoms and then point patients to the care they need.
For example, an employee who is suffering headaches might send an e-mail to his Sherpaa guide explaining his symptoms. The guide would then ask him to keep a diary of his headaches for the next week. Then the guide would call up a headache specialist who accepts his insurance and set up an appointment for him. Because he’s able to produce the diary right off the bat, he may have saved himself from having to make an extra appointment, because the doc would have most likely asked him to do such a diary before completing her assessment of his condition.
Since many of Sherpaa’s clients participate in high-deductible health plans, Sherpaa’s guides are constantly looking for ways to help patients spend less … Next Page »