If you are like most doctors running their medical practice, you probably don’t have enough time in the day. You’re juggling a million things, and there’s never enough time to finish everything.
Healthcare providers have several responsibilities, including diagnosing and treating clients, ordering and interpreting tests, prescribing medication, and referring patients to specialists. They also handle paperwork related to various employee expenses, overhead, and capital costs, ensuring that billing and payments are handled correctly.
During the pandemic, virtual assistant services for medical practice have to add the responsibility of vaccinating themselves and their staff before resuming work. Later they have to provide vaccinations for other people as well.
With so many responsibilities placed on providers, it is not surprising that many are on the verge of burnout. Many providers no longer have time for themselves, their family, or friends, which leaves no reprieve for their anxiety and stress in the workplace. One way to help free up some of your time is to delegate some of these tasks to a virtual assistant service for medical practice.
Most virtual medical assistants have previous relevant medical training.
Virtual assistant services for medical practice can take care of your phone lines, schedule and confirm patient medical appointments, verify insurance and prior authorization, bill, submit and receive electronic medical records for other healthcare members, and update your electronic health record systems and members’ case management team, transcribe clinic visits, and coordinate services with specific clinical teams, among other things.
Aim for better quality care
Before delegating primary responsibilities to a virtual staff, you must ensure your office is prepared for one.
Prepare your office
First, you’ll need to talk to your clinic staff and get their input on how they think a virtual assistant could help them. Weighing the pros and cons of virtual assistance would enable you and your staff to maximize having virtual medical assistants support your practice fully.
A meeting with your staff before you consider virtual assistance.
Your staff usually monitors patient appointments daily and is already handling a lot with each provider visit. They may already have responsibilities they would like delegated to the virtual assistant services for medical practice. Handling related psychosocial issues in patient care, gathering patient medical history, updating patient information and another medical tracking system, answering questions related to people’s health plans, or about ongoing activities of the practice are some of the work entrusted to a virtual staff.
Maximize technology to advance your practice
Provider visits can be enhanced when virtual assistants take care of any required documentation for the clinic. This will enable you and your staff more time for patient interaction and care.
Knowing what primary responsibilities you would be delegating to your virtual medical assistants would enable you and your staff to choose the qualifications you need your virtual assistants to have. Although a virtual medical assistant is not necessarily a registered or certified nursing assistant, most have previous relevant healthcare training.
Virtual assistants are meant to be an asset for doctors.
Virtual medical assistants have a sound foundation, vast experience, and knowledge in the healthcare field. Background checks ensure that virtual assistants are trustworthy and can support any medical practice. Virtual assistants have enough knowledge to be familiar with medical terminology to handle medical records of medical practices, able to follow specific nursing protocols for patient care, and have EMR charting experience.
Virtual staff at work
Virtual assistants are meant to support any medical provider or Medicare-recognized organization with any administrative work remotely to promote better healthcare services to patients.
Another untapped remote work you can delegate to your virtual staff is monitoring the latest job alert boards when looking for additional in-house staff. A list of requirements is all that the virtual staff needs to help you find the best fit for your office by checking or putting up a job alert for an open position.
Next, you’ll need to make sure your practice has the following necessary equipment in place:
Office phone and computer for access
A computer and phone line that your virtual assistant can remotely access. This will allow your virtual medical assistant to access your patient information and electronic medical records. This will allow virtual assistants to schedule appointments, update electronic patient records, and provide any information clients might need after hours, like support about the side effects of booster shots and other medication injections.
Internet connection opens up tremendous possibilities for your practice.
To connect your computer and landline phone to your virtual assistant, you’ll need a stable and reliable high-speed internet connection. You’ll also need to ensure your office has the software and applications necessary for the virtual assistant to do their job.
The term “software” can refer to various instruments, such as computerized record-keeping systems, medication management programs, and the like. If you have customer relationship management software, your virtual staff also needs access to this. This is on top of the usual office software needed for reports and billing matters like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
Depending on your state, you might need to provide your virtual employees access to a virtual private network. This could also add to the security of your sensitive data. Additional security software may be provided, but your staffing firm usually handles that for you. If you do not have a specific software required from your virtual staff, then your virtual staffing firm covers these things from the get-go.
Virtual staff can gather patients’ medical histories.
Having virtual medical assistants cover your practice beyond office hours does not only resolve access for a patient to healthcare services. Still, it will eventually position and differentiate your practice as the best in your field. People want to be assured that their providers are aware of their status in case of an emergency which usually happens after office hours.
This is a great idea to think about and research, especially if you want to broaden your clientele to include those who can’t normally get in touch with you during work hours. You must inform your virtual staff how to handle any information or calls after hours without worrying about additional employee costs.
Be a pioneer in your field.
Once your practice is set up for a virtual medical assistant, start delegating some of your responsibilities to them. They can handle everything from answering phones to updating patient records. You can decide how to integrate your virtual staff into your workplace. Others might be comfortable giving them a dry run before entrusting them fully with significant responsibilities such as updating the electronic health records.
Your practice eventually delivers patient care more efficiently as waiting time would be significantly reduced to acquire any needed healthcare services when you have your virtual staff who takes care of the hefty paperwork. It is incredible how many procedures are delayed due to pending authorizations from insurance companies and other healthcare facilities. Your staff cannot have all the time to stay behind a desk when people are awaiting their care. In-house
Doctor delegating work
You would need to create a process for how the virtual assistant will communicate with your staff and patients. You’ll want to establish clear guidelines for what work the virtual assistant is responsible for and what still needs to be handled by your staff. This would not only lessen the confusion but would streamline your practice in a position that other doctors would soon want to follow suit.
Creating a schedule for when tasks need to be completed
One way to ensure the tasks delegated to a virtual assistant are completed on time is to create a schedule for when they need to be done. This will help keep everyone organized and on track. This is a great method to keep track of how your on-site and remote employees are doing with the work that needs to be done.
Schedules make everything run smoothly.
You’ll also need to create a schedule for when your staff is available to handle tasks that still need to be done in-office. Although most back office work can be handled remotely, your virtual staff may need clarifications or verifications from your in-house staff now and then. Your virtual assistant will know the optimum time to call your in-house personnel if they have any queries or clarifications about your patients or the practice if they have access to their calendars.
In-house staff coordinating with your virtual staff
You might need to change your schedule to allow for this as you want to ensure the virtual assistant has adequate time to finish their job. Despite the fact that a virtual assistant can do a lot of office duties, bear in mind that they might not be able to finish all the administrative duties essential to your company in a single 8-hour shift. Evaluate whether more virtual staff are needed to cover the office or not.
Another great thing about having a virtual staff is that you can reduce or increase their number depending on your need, something you cannot always do with an in-house employee. You need not worry about overtime pay when you need them after hours, and you can opt to have virtual staff when your office closes for the day with just enough time for any necessary endorsements or schedule changes.
Virtual staff may be needed depending on the needs and size of your practice.
If you decide on a 24-hour coverage of your practice, you might want to hire more virtual assistants to go on shift answering phone calls to your office from patients or other doctors. Although your virtual staff is flexible with their time, one cannot cover a complete 24-hour shift alone. Fortunately, many virtual staffing firms offer 24-hour answering services at very affordable prices.
Ensure efficiency with a fantastic schedule
A timeframe for when the tasks must be done may be created to ensure that we are in agreement that they are performed on time. It also lessens the possibility of errors while ensuring quality care is given to each patient, and great support is delivered to the doctor and staff.
Regardless of who does the majority of the work, when you operate as a team, you guarantee that your objectives are met. By encouraging teamwork as part of your workplace culture, you can be assured that this schedule will be regularly checked and the tasks covered.
Follow up and monitor progress.
Finally, ensure you regularly check in with your virtual medical assistant to see how they are doing and to ensure they are meeting your expectations. Sometimes it needs time for the expectations to be achieved because even though the virtual staff is trained to learn faster than regular employees, each individual’s learning curve and progression are not the same.
Monitoring the progress of your virtual staff
Constant feedback on the performance of your staff is crucial. Let them know what areas they are doing well in and what areas need improvement. This will help your in-house and virtual staff understand your goals and enable them to do their job better.
Feedback is essential for any practice.
Regular communication with your virtual medical assistant is essential to ensure that they meet your needs and that your practice runs smoothly. This is vital for your virtual staff as you do not regularly see each other in the clinic as you do your in-house staff. You are not aware of their concerns as much as your in-house employees, so it is essential to check on them occasionally.
Celebrate your success
Hiring a virtual staff can help free up time so you can focus on what’s important – growing your practice. Many providers are held back by the administrative part of their practice that they have no time to evaluate their methods and work on improving them. This will help you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently. Virtual staff handling these business details enables you to get your time back.
You could make things easier if you didn’t disregard the worth of time as a resource. If used properly, it could contribute to the expansion and success of a company. But once time has been wasted, it can be difficult to make it up. However, this doesn’t always happen, especially in the medical field, where time may fly by because of the many obligations placed on doctors.
Providers must take the time to unwind and relax. This allows them to rejuvenate and return to work with a fresh perspective. Take some time for yourself; you will find it more beneficial for everyone involved. Use your vacation time effectively. During this time, you may also catch up with loved ones. To continue offering excellent care to others, caregivers must take some time for themselves.
Providers at their best
It might be stressful to try to handle everything on your own. Once you have set things up, you can take advantage of all the benefits a virtual medical assistant offers. Your patients will value the quick and competent service they receive, and you’ll have more time to devote to other vital tasks.
Your virtual staff can help take some of the burdens off of you so that you can focus on your patients. By creating a schedule and setting up regular communication, you can ensure that your virtual staff is meeting your needs and helping to keep your practice running smoothly.
At Portiva, we understand the importance of providing quality support to doctors and their staff. We offer a wide range of virtual staff trained to handle various tasks, including answering phones, scheduling appointments, billing, and insurance verification, and updating electronic health records systems.
Portiva also provides transcribing, EMR entry, and other transcription services to small and large businesses across the United States. Transcribers listen to live events or audio and video recordings to produce written versions. Many writers work freelance or full-time in various fields, but those who work in the legal or health professions will require specialized skills. Transcribers use a variety of tools and must complete administrative duties.
Is your business drowning in transcription work? We can help! Our team of skilled transcribers guarantees 98% accuracy or higher, so you can focus on what you do best. Let us take care of the transcriptions while you save time and money. Those interested in learning more about Portiva’s expert transcription services can call 610-572-1539 or complete a simple online registration form. Celebrate your success by freeing up more time – hire a virtual assistant today!