Medical assistance, faster and cheaper (US)

Sounds impossible especially if you’re in the US? Here’s two approaches that can save time, money and increase transparency, if you’re in the NY area. eHealth developers should look at these services to see where they can add value.

  • The first is Sherpaa, founded by a NYC primary care doctor, Jay Parkinson MD (who co-founded the Hello Health EHR and patient management platform), which works with NYC employers (mainly early stage and small) to use 24/7 phone/email access to select physicians to eliminate unnecessary steps and thus lower healthcare costs. For instance, an ER (ED) visit for a cut hand could be eliminated by taking a photo of the cut, sending it to the Sherpaa ‘guide’, Sherpaa makes the call on whether this can be handled outside the ER, you’re given instructions in the meantime as Sherpaa contacts one of their plastic surgeons, and you’re off to the doctor in an hour rather than sitting around an ER bleeding and listening to a drunk screaming (Ed. Donna’s true story). It’s not meant to replace health insurance but is almost a concierge service that costs the employer around $1,000/year per employee, while savings for the cut hand, for instance, may be as high as $3,000. Unfortunately it is not available to individuals. CBS This Morning (video on site)
  • The other is Clear Health Costs, whose aim is to make common health care costs transparent to all, especially the uninsured or in plans with high co-pays or deductibles. It is essentially a comparison guide based on two things: self pay prices as surveyed by the Clear Health Costs team (founder Jeanne Pinder is a former New York Times reporter), and publicly available Medicaid (state sponsored low income plan) or Medicare procedure data. The goal is comparison shopping of multiple providers in a city, for popular procedures from MRIs, mammograms and ultrasound to teeth whitening. The site is still in beta, New York only, and was presented to the Health 2.0 NYC group at “Patients 2.0” last night.