Virtual Medical Office Assistant Services Can be of Help for Medical Practice
Healthcare is the core of human existence and healthcare professionals are their pillars. They are occupied in their quest to make society healthier every day. We rely on these individuals to not only save our lives but to also attend to our general health and preventive measures using their extensive knowledge and medical tools.
However, Virtual medical office assistant professionals all over the world are facing several challenges. These include caring for an exponentially increasing population, being up to date with the latest Virtual medical office assistant information and healthcare technology, responding to the needs of different types of patients, jumping between clinics and hospitals, being understaffed, and daily administrative tasks. It is indeed quite alarming when The Association of American Medical Colleges has predicted that there will be a shortage of licensed physicians to cater to the ever-increasing number of patients in the US.
Moreover, to say that the workload that Virtual medical office assistant professionals and doctors take up daily is monumental is an understatement. There is a seemingly endless stream of paperwork to file, and documentation to check, which can put even the most experienced doctors behind on their schedules. An article from the American Medical Association mentions how about “three in five” physicians report at least one instance of burnout during the Omicron wave in the winter of 2021-2022, one of the leading causes being increased workload and work-related distress.
As growing concerns about the workload increase in the next decade and a shortage of Virtual medical office assistant professionals as a result arise, there is a dire need for technologies that would support and help these individuals work more efficiently. How do we deal with these growing challenges and reduce their workload so that doctors and Virtual medical office assistant professionals can provide the best care for their patients?
The answer lies in healthcare technology, which is increasingly being used all over the globe, specifically Virtual Assistant Services. Virtual Assistants provide various administrative and/or technological services from remote locations. The Virtual Assistant Services from Ossisto is one such platform suitable for all kinds of Virtual medical office assistant Practice.
A VA can manage a doctor’s daily administrative tasks, like documentation and appointments, make calls, keep track of Virtual medical office assistant records, detail insurance coverage, etc. reducing their workloads. Virtual assistance offers benefits to both employees and people who employ them. While employees can save time and money but outsourcing tasks so they can focus on their primary work, VAs enjoy the flexibility and independence of remote work. Thus, it is not surprising that this is a rapidly growing field. Listed in the following paragraphs are the benefits of having this for healthcare and Virtual medical office assistant practices.
Benefits of having a VA
A VA can also take up the role of a Virtual medical office assistant receptionist. They can handle a variety of administrative tasks such as keeping financial records, making time for the doctors, handling calls and emails, sending reminders, keeping patient records, handling customer service, and managing billing and insurance. They optimize and enhance the scope of the Virtual medical office assistant workspace. All these tasks are further expanded upon.
Managing schedules and appointments
A VA can manage your schedules, patient appointments, and important calendar events, thus saving Virtual medical office assistant practitioners the hassle and giving them time to attend to their patients. They can coordinate with the employees and doctors to provide them with their daily tasks and follow up with any updates. They can follow up with patients on prescription delivery, insurance verification, and any administrative task to ensure uninterrupted Virtual medical office assistant services for patients.
Answering and forwarding calls
Attending the phone is a crucial task in any Virtual medical office assistant facility, be it scheduling appointments, following up on patients, or transferring any urgent calls to the concerned department. The VA works as a filtering system where they will route the relevant calls to the practitioners directly whenever there is a need. They are aware of how to prioritize the calls i.e., take up calls that do not require general information and only route important calls to the doctors. This reduces the burden on Virtual medical office assistant professionals and increases their efficiency.
VAs can be helpful when it comes to transcribing doctor-patient conversations and taking notes so that the doctors do not miss out on a single detail. In fact, they can also take the help of machines that are programmed for such tasks to ensure better accuracy and speed. Doctors will need not worry about missing important messages from their clients. The VA will have all their notes and details of meetings readily available for quick reference and they will make sure that the information is readily accessible to anyone in the office.
Most doctors and Virtual medical office assistant professionals have switched to electronic medical records in recent times. A VA can take up the task of updating the records daily with the latest prescriptions and invoices. They can also take care of generating invoices and ensuring delivery to the concerned patients. By doing so, paperwork for the doctors and the cleric staff in clinics/hospitals is significantly cut down, and additionally, the documents are easier to maintain and access.
Cost and space effective
VAs have no physical presence in the office and thus do not require space. This allows the office to expand its space for clinical equipment, instruments, or additional rooms. Not having a physical space is also very affordable and helps to cut down on unnecessary costs. The VAs also don’t require any additional benefits.
Improve Patient Wellbeing
Doctors are not only in charge of the patient’s health but also in charge of making them feel safe and reassured. However, this process should start right at the beginning. VAs are trained to treat distressed patients gently and listen to their concerns with empathy as they direct them to the Virtual medical office assistant practitioner. VAs can be quite beneficial for the elderly, people with chronic diseases, or people with any form of social anxiety as patients may feel more comfortable sharing their details and other personal information with a virtual assistant rather than a live human. There is less judgment and embarrassment.
This allows doctors to create a comfortable environment right in the beginning and helps them in their consultation. It also helps to create a more well-rounded picture of the patient and their conditions, allowing them to work out the details of their health plan.
Virtual Assistance in Mental Health
As Virtual Assistants can be trained to improve patient well-being, they would be especially successful in the field of mental health. Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social workers, Therapists, and Counsellors are all health practitioners that have a colossal workload just like doctors, and this workload has increased since the advent of COVID-19 causing skyrocketing levels of depression and anxiety among people according to a report by the National Institute of Mental Health. A trained VA could help lessen their administrative burdens so they can focus on mental health.
They can handle various tasks, as mentioned before, and are extremely beneficial to healthcare professionals. When working under mental health practitioners, they can be trained to be empathetic and good listeners to the clients calling in for queries/appointments. Mental Health workers strive to make the process feel as safe and comfortable as possible so starting at the very beginning ensures that the patient feels heard even before their appointment. This makes the session go smoothly and increases the chances of a successful treatment process.
Additionally, as reiterated before, virtual assistants work remotely so patients may feel more comfortable booking therapy sessions with somebody they can’t see and assume won’t make judgments of them. People with social anxiety may feel more comfortable talking to a faceless person than a live person.
Client confidentiality might seem like an issue here but there are strict laws regarding the protection of a client’s confidentiality. Virtual assistants are trained to know them and strictly follow them. Most companies that train them, conduct thorough background checks on them, contact references, and perform interviews to make sure that they are trustworthy and ethical. In addition to that, they use specialized software dedicated to keeping client data safe.
How to become a VA
The first step to becoming a virtual assistant is identifying and building on the skills necessary for the job. The most common skills necessary are:
- Computer proficiency
- Editorial skills
- Organization and time management
Besides the training VAs will receive, these are some of the basic skills that aspiring VAs must build on as it is used almost daily while carrying out tasks for medicine.
The next step is to decide what services you will be offering and your pricing structure. This way, you can target clients in the field you want to work for and get good jobs based on your capabilities. There are websites online that help individuals create profiles and apply for jobs that they are suited for.
Then, you must invest in good equipment so that you can do your job. It is extremely dependent on technology and efficiency so investing in good-quality laptops and phones will benefit you in the long run. And most importantly, you will need a stable internet connection.
When you start applying for jobs as a new VA, it is important to build your resume and your skills so there is no shame in accepting smaller and low-paying jobs if you work diligently so you get positive reviews and build your reputation. This will increase chances of getting hired and in turn, getting more high-paying jobs.
It is advisable to specialize in a particular health department so they can increase their pay rate and client retention by looking at niche markets. Aspiring VAs should continue developing a specific skill and marketing themselves as an expert in that area. Possible areas of specialization include email marketing, customer support, managing social media, and website design.
How much do VAs make?
The national average salary for virtual assistants is $15.87 per hour, and salaries range from $7.25 to $37.50 per hour. Virtual assistants can increase their income and earning potential by building a steady clientele and specializing in niche services. However, the salaries can vary as it is very much dependent on your specializations and workload.
Intelligent Virtual Assistants – Chatbots
As the world increasingly digitizes, even virtual assistance is being revamped to meet the expectations of a technology-dominated society. The advent of Artificial Intelligence is transforming regular chatbots into intelligent virtual assistants.
Chatbots are, of course, not a replacement for human interaction, but if designed right they can meet patients’ increasing expectations for digital experiences that are truly beneficial and efficient. What separates a simple chatbot from an intelligent virtual healthcare assistant (VHA) is the implementation of the right patient engagement strategies that are intuitive, accessible, and empathetic.
These VHAs provide current and accurate information to help patients navigate through any support they need or help them to book appointments. These systems have already been implemented in some hospitals which are personalized AI-powered chatbots that help the patients throughout their treatment. Healthcare chatbots can never replace doctors but they can help make their work more efficient, as VAs are supposed to.
In addition to all the benefits mentioned above in having a live VA, the advantage of a chatbot is that it provides 24/7 service that human workers cannot, and it also ensures a level of accuracy that might not be possible with our human eyes. However, some of the disadvantages include the lack of compassion and human emotion which is exactly what would make the patient feel comfortable before going in for their appointment.
A beneficial solution would be to have a combined system of an intelligent chatbot plus a live VA on call. By doing so, the Virtual medical office assistant practitioner gets the best of both worlds and manages to save a lot of money that they wouldn’t be able to if they hired staff.
VAs are the future
It is safe to say that virtual assistance is the future of healthcare and Virtual medical office assistant practices. Not only does it help lessen the burden of administrative tasks on the healthcare professional so that they can focus on their clients, but it also helps to enhance their scope of work by reducing cost, improving efficiency, and assisting in patient wellbeing.
Although recent, several hospitals and clinics are already implementing virtual assistants and have been successful in their attempts to help their Virtual medical office assistant practitioners. As with any new technology, there will be a period of adjustment but once this is over, inevitably, the entire world of healthcare will soon move to this practice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Q: What is a Virtual Medical Office Assistant (VMOA)?
A: A Virtual Medical Office Assistant is a trained professional who provides administrative and clerical support to healthcare professionals remotely. VMOAs can handle tasks such as appointment scheduling, medical billing and coding, insurance verification, and patient follow-up.
Q: What services can a VMOA provide for my medical practice?
A: A VMOA can perform a wide range of administrative and clerical tasks, including but not limited to appointment scheduling, medical billing and coding, insurance verification, patient follow-up, data entry, transcription, and record keeping. They can help streamline your practice’s operations and improve efficiency.
Q: How does a VMOA work remotely?
A: A VMOA works remotely by using various communication technologies such as email, phone, and video conferencing. They can access your practice’s electronic medical records system (EMR) or other software tools to perform their tasks.
Q: How do I ensure the confidentiality and security of my patients’ information when working with a VMOA?
A: It is important to work with a reputable VMOA service provider that follows strict data privacy and security protocols. The VMOA should sign a confidentiality agreement and should only access patient information on a need-to-know basis. Additionally, you can use secure communication tools and implement strong access controls to protect patient data.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a VMOA?
A: The cost of hiring a VMOA depends on various factors such as the level of experience and the services provided. VMOA services may be offered on an hourly, weekly, or monthly basis, and rates can vary depending on the provider. It’s important to choose a provider that offers transparent pricing and provides a clear breakdown of costs.
Q: Can a VMOA work on a part-time basis?
A: Yes, a VMOA can work on a part-time basis depending on your practice’s needs. You can hire a VMOA for a few hours per week or on a project basis. This can help you save costs compared to hiring a full-time in-house assistant.
Q: How do I choose the right VMOA service provider?
A: When choosing a VMOA service provider, consider factors such as their level of experience, the services they provide, their pricing and billing practices, and their availability and responsiveness. It’s important to choose a provider that has experience working with medical practices and understands the unique challenges and regulations in the healthcare industry.