NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Health care is a nearly $3 trillion a year industry.
More than $800 billion of that goes to hospital care alone.
The price is so high, in part because of the way Americans get that care.
Katie McGee has the story of a Brooklyn doctor who started a business to try and chance that.
Dr. Jay Parkinson started his career in Brooklyn making house calls to patients who scheduled their own appointments online.
“I think health care just happened,” Dr. Parkinson said. “And nobody’s ever questioned it.”
His new company, Sherpaa, is one of several start-ups looking to use technology to help people get better.
Sherpaa is 24/7 e-mail and phone access to a group of New York City doctors. You can reach out to them using your phone or computer with your ailment and receive advice, without ever making a trip to the doctors office.
For example, if you’ve suffered a nasty cut, snap a picture and e-mail it to Sherpaa. A doctor will respond immediately with instructions. If you need stitches, Sherpaa will schedule a same-day appoint with one of the 100 specialists they work with.
That could cut out the expensive, and typically long wait, of a visit to the ER.
Amanda Ferri used Sherpaa after she fainted on a business trip. Her friends wanted to take her to the emergency room – instead, she called Sherpaa.
“I definitely saved money on it,” she said.
Sherpaa doesn’t replace health insurance, but instead works to weed out inefficiencies, while offering a kind of concierge service.
“If you just count up the number of people that you have to come in contact with whenever you want to go to the doctor, there’s just so many unnecessary steps,” Dr. Parkinson said.
So far, Sherpaa is not available to individuals – it’s only offered through companies who want to make it part of their employee benefit package.