I’m pretty excited to announce that Sherpaa has teamed up with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to offer their preventive medicine physicians in training the opportunity to do a rotation at Sherpaa to learn about health technology, startups & entrepreneurship, the optimal patient experience, service design, and the business of healthcare.
I did two residencies, one in pediatrics and the second was in Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins where, as part of the residency, you also get your masters in public health (MPH). I absolutely loved it and it really did give me the experiences and connections I needed to do what I’m doing today. I’m pretty excited to be a part of helping the Hopkins preventive medicine residents train to gain the skills necessary to be effective leaders in health promotion and disease prevention and to enable maximum health and quality of life for patients. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Hopkins and I’m just super excited to pay it forward with Hopkins residents working with us here at Sherpaa.
Meet Dr. Ezra Feinberg. Ezra is our clinical psychologist. We’ve come to re-think the standard $250, 50-minute weekly therapy session. Sometimes you only need a 15 minute chat to feel safe and comforted. Sometimes you may need visits over the next month with a therapist to help you get through a breakup, or you may need intensive therapy with a psychiatrist for longer to help you overcome a serious issue. All our clients are different, so we’re envisioning ways to make mental healthcare work best and most affordably for you. Ezra will guide you to exactly who and what you need. We asked him a few questions so you can get to know him better.
Meet Dr. Susan Gonnella. Susan is Sherpaa’s Chief Physician. Prior to joining Sherpaa, she led corporate health at American Express for 15 years. She has 27 years of on-the-ground experience helping people receive proper care at the right time, every time. But those are just her credentials. Susan is a remarkably compassionate, dedicated, and creative doctor — exactly the kind of doctor to exemplify our mission at Sherpaa. We asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better.
Meet Dr. Ida Santana. Ida is an integral part of the Sherpaa clinical team and solves many of the issues we field via phone calls and emails. She is triple boarded in Internal Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, and Palliative Medicine. She is soon to be board-certified in Integrative Medicine. Ida was chief resident during co-founder Jay Parkinson’s pediatric residency — he knows she is one of the most talented doctors you will ever meet. We asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better.
Not too long ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invited me to speak to their entire organization about Sherpaa, re-imagining healthcare, and designing a better way of doing things. The Robert Wood Johson Foundation is the United States largest philanthropy devoted solely to the nation’s public health and they do absolutely wonderful work.
After I spoke, they asked me to write a piece for them. Here’s what I wrote:
Everything great comes from an elegantly designed process. Just think of all of the experiences we love and use on a daily basis. Consider the iPhone. Apple re-imagined what a phone, or rather, a tiny computer in your pocket, could be and created a revolutionary device. Steve Jobs designed not only the interface that changed computing forever, but Tim Cook designed the manufacturing and material sourcing processes that enabled them to produce a remarkably complicated device at a relatively inexpensive price. They understood that, in order to deliver an exceptional user experience, they had to design the entire process, from the interface to the factory.
Health care was never designed. It just happened, revolving mostly around doctors’ needs and wants, in a culture that strongly believed “doctor knows best.” But our culture changed with the democratization of health information and other industries quickly evolved, raising consumers’ expectations of what health care could and should be.
Comparing the Apple Genius Bar with today’s average health care experience is laughable.
So how can health care catch up? Design an elegant health care process that enables intelligent health care delivery. Don’t only design that process, but implement it. Essentially, combine the elegance and creativity of Steve Jobs with the process-driven business savvy of Tim Cook. That’s what we do every day here in my company, Sherpaa. Here’s how it works:
Does that really mean that 70% of primary care, specialist, and ER visits don’t need to happen? Does that really mean that 70% of those insurance claims should never happen? Yes, exactly. If you give patients accessible doctors at the right time to skillfully decide how best to use health care, health care is used intelligently with very little waste. In this system, everything that’s done actually needs to happen.
All of this is the result of an elegantly designed health care delivery process. But elegant processes aren’t free. So, in conjunction with this process, you must have an equally innovative business model to pay for this new process. There’s a hard fact floating around companies saddled with health care costs—health insurance premiums double every seven and a half years. Employers have a vested interest in taming those costs. And with roughly 70% of health care costs in America fronted by employers, they are the perfect innovation partner. Employers pay us to innovate their way out of rising costs through intelligent health care delivery.
This is all very interesting for the early adopters—the innovative and creative companies looking to make health care awesome for their employees. But what about the rest? What about the unions, those folks on Medicaid, and companies with minimum wage workers? Well, it’s called trickle-down technology. When the iPhone came out, few people could afford it. Over time, we now have cheaper versions of iPhones and, most importantly, Google’s Android smartphones. There’s even a $25 Android smartphone soon to be released. Now, almost everyone can afford this fancy “new” technology. This will also happen with health care. Start with the innovators who can’t stand frustrating experiences and who are dying to pay for something better. Work with those folks to refine your process and make it even more elegant, build an even bigger business, and watch competitors arise. And in the not too distant future, we’ll all wake up one day to see health care transformed by a little combination of dreamers, designers, and businesspeople who couldn’t stand seeing something broken without doing something about it.
PSFK released their “The Future of Health” report and Jay Parkinson, the CEO and co-founder of Sherpaa is interviewed about “Orchestrated Care,” one of the four main themes of the report.
"Given the rising costs associated with the treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases and the looming shortage of doctors, the healthcare system is at a tipping point. The current model can no longer sustain the inefficiencies associated with business as usual, leaving an industry ripe for innovation.
Radical change calls for radical thinking, which is why PSFK is excited to release an in-depth video report, featuring interviews with 13 leading innovators in the fields of medicine and health technology, as part our exploration into the Future Of Health in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim.”
Sherpaa is included in The Guardian’s new “Smartphone Revolution" interactive. Smartphones do open up a whole new world to coordinate care with an accessible doctor who can either treat you or intelligently direct your care to exactly who and what you need. It feels good to be viewed as the inevitable future.
Prices for tests and procedures in healthcare are literally all over the map, as told so wonderfully by Time in their groundbreaking article, The Bitter Pill. For example, if you get a brain MRI at one institution versus another, this may be the difference between you paying $500 vs. $2500 out of your deductible. That’s the difference between you going on vacation to Rio, buying that new MacBook Pro, or doing whatever your little heart desires with a cool extra $2,000 in your pocket. The obvious next question is, “Well I can only assume that if I get the test done at the $2500 place, it’s going to be $2,000 worth of higher quality and value, right?” Wrong. Healthcare costs are in no way correlated with quality and value. The same goes for procedures too. If you need an inguinal hernia repair, you’re going to quickly blow through your $10,000 deductible if you get it at one institution vs. another. But what if you can negotiate with a general surgeon for a better price? Instead of spending $10,000 of your deductible in a hospital center, you could spend $4,000 to have the procedure done in a beautiful outpatient surgical center. Now that’s $6,000 of real money you just saved.
That’s why I’m ridiculously happy to announce that Sherpaa just released a new feature in our app to help you save a potentially ridiculous amount of money when you need an expensive test or procedure. You can now tell us your story and what you need, and our doctors and insurance guides will collaborate and find you the highest quality place to get these at the best price.
We’re so proud of this. A resource that can save you literally thousands of dollars can make a huge difference in your life. So if you’re a Sherpaa client, give it a try and instead of throwing money blindly at an opaque, unfair system, go on that much needed vacation. You deserve it.
Here’s the new Sherpaa video. If you want to get a flavor for who we are and what we do, check it out!