Although people often think of virtual assistants as aids for executives or entrepreneurs, VAs are also hugely valuable in a variety of other settings. In fact, anyone who wants to eliminate monotonous tasks or receive support for activities that fall outside their area of expertise can benefit from a VA. For instance, a medical virtual assistant can support healthcare professionals with a wide range of tasks.
Who Can Benefit from a Virtual Medical Office Assistant?
A medical virtual assistant can support much more than a physician working at a general practice. Just about anyone who works in healthcare can benefit from the services of a VA. This includes surgeons, specialists, house call physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, dentists, and even veterinarians.
In fact, if you work on a team, you may like to contract a medical virtual assistant to support your entire operation. Although each individual team member may have minimal needs, combined you may have several hours of work that you can hand over to a virtual assistant. This applies to teams at clinics, urgent care centers, group practices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, mental healthcare facilities, and much more.
Medical Virtual Assistant Tasks
A virtual medical office assistant can handle just about any task that doesn’t require specific healthcare expertise. Some tasks you should consider delegating to your VA include the following, but you may also have some unique tasks at your practice that you can outsource.
Until you add up all the small tasks you could hand off to a virtual assistant, you may be unaware of just how much time you spend on administration. Tasks may include:
- Intake of new patients and referrals.
- Appointment setting — scheduling, managing cancelations, and sending reminders to patients.
- Calendar management — creating a schedule that includes appointments with patients as well as other commitments, such as meetings and events.
- Organizing files in your database.
- Supply management — keeping track of supplies at your practice and ordering new items when necessary.
- Medical billing and coding.
- Followups and checking on patients after appointments.
- Prescription refills.
- Email management — responding to messages and cleaning your inbox.
- Transferring physical forms into a digital format.
Medical Scribe and Transcription
You can find a virtual assistant who has experience doing data entry for electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR). With encrypted video conferencing software, the VA can join you in the exam room and chart the examination in real time. This will provide you with the additional information you need to complete forms.
In other cases, you may like to record dictation during or after an appointment. The virtual assistant can transcribe this information into the patient’s chart.
A medical virtual assistant can answer your phones just as if you had a receptionist in your building. Your VA can resolve issues, take messages for you to respond to later, and transfer just the urgent cals to you. The same virtual assistant can work on other tasks while waiting for calls to come in.
There are several advantages to this system. First, you’ll always answer your phones in a timely manner. Second, the same person will always be on the other end of the line, which is great for developing relationships with patients. Finally, having someone screen your calls is extra useful if you often waste your time on spam calls.
Patients may prefer to contact you through email, text, or live chat on your website. This is all possible with a virtual assistant.
Your virtual assistant can handle all communication with your patients’ insurance companies. Eliminate the wait time for verification and send claims immediately. Your VA can also check patients’ eligibility in advance to preauthorize treatments.
A medical virtual assistant can send out invoices, pay bills, and manage payroll for you. The VA can also produce financial reports for you to check expenses and forecast cash flow.
It’s difficult to find new patients and grow your practice without some marketing. A virtual assistant can update your website to keep it modern and user friendly, manage your social media accounts, and respond to the reviews you receive. If you want to actively search for new patients, a VA can set up campaigns to target patients in your area.
A tech-savvy VA can provide support for you and your patients if you ever have problems during virtual appointments. The virtual assistant can also set up new medical software and train your staff to use it.
Benefits of a Medical Virtual Assistant
You spent years studying to reach where you are today. You’re wasting your skills if you spend even a small portion of your day on administrative tasks and other routine activities that someone without medical training could do. Contracting a virtual assistant to do these tasks leads to numerous benefits.
Spend More Time with Patients
When you have sufficient time, there’s no need to rush through appointments to get back to your paperwork. Instead, you can listen to patients fully and provide a proper examination. This could mean you are also able to fit more appointments into your day, which is key to growing your practice.
Provide a Better Service
Spending more time with your patients means you are able to think about their needs and provide a better service. You and your team members can focus on what you do best, leaving the rest to your virtual assistant. As a result, you’ll have healthier, happier patients who will recommend you to their friends and family and leave great reviews for your practice.
Take Care of Your Own Health
Working in a medical field is stressful, and this can take a toll on your own health. It’s much more likely you’ll become stressed if you try to take on too much. A virtual assistant can help keep your workload manageable, meaning you’ll have time to rest and will be less likely to take sick days.
Free Up Time for Other Activities
There’s more to life than just work. With a virtual assistant, you have more time to spend with your family and on your passions. You could even use your extra time to acquire new skills or conduct research to advance your career.
Medical Virtual Assistant vs Personal Assistant
Whereas you could hire a personal assistant, there are numerous advantages to contracting a virtual assistant.
Contracting a medical virtual assistant is less expensive than hiring a personal assistant. As a VA is not an employee, you just pay for the hours you need. There’s no requirement to stick to a contract of a set number of hours each week or month, which allows you to scale according to your needs. Plus, you don’t incur additional expenses like benefits.
No Training Necessary
Virtual assistants are responsible for staying up to date on all the latest developments in their field. If they work for an agency, they’ll also receive training through their employer. All you need to do is decide what tasks to assign the VA and provide onboarding specific to your practice.
If your practice grows larger and you need support with new tasks, you can easily contract a second VA. You may like to hire different VAs for the specific expertise you require.
No Need for Office Space
If you already have limited space at your practice, fitting a desk for a personal assistant could be problematic. As a virtual assistant never comes to your office, there’s no need for a desk or any other equipment.
Experience Working Virtually
Many medical professionals are working remotely at the moment and offering services like telemedicine. It’s much better to find someone who knows how to work virtually than asking a personal assistant to provide you with support online.
Find Someone Immediately
A virtual assistant can start working immediately. All you need to do is draw up a contract and decide what tasks you need support with.
Does a Healthcare Virtual Assistant Need a Medical Background?
It’s common for a medical virtual assistant to have a background in healthcare. Registered nurses, medical assistants, and medical billing and coding specialists can all work as VAs. Other medical virtual assistants have acquired healthcare skills and now specialize in supporting medical professionals.
In any case, a virtual assistant in healthcare should be certified in HIPAA compliance. You need to be able to trust that the VA will keep your patient information confidential and handle data in an appropriate way.
Just as important is attention to detail. It is critical that there are no mistakes in your patients’ charts, medical coding, and insurance information. Even minor mistakes can have serious consequences. For this reason, most employers and agencies use simple tests to assess virtual assistants’ accuracy and other skills before hiring the VA.
Whatever your profession in healthcare, if you feel that you have too much on your plate or your team is struggling to meet deadlines, you should consider contracting a medical virtual assistant. You can find a VA with the skills to carry out the exact tasks you need to improve your practice and provide a better service to patients.