With practices transitioning to a digital environment to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve patient care — The modern healthcare industry is constantly evolving. Virtual medical assistants (VMAs) are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to help streamline administrative processes and facilitate better practice management. As a business coach who primarily works with both physicians and attorneys, we are often asked about VMAs, and how they can benefit a physician’s office. So let’s dive in!
What Are Medical Virtual Assistants?
VMAs are highly skilled professionals who are well-versed in medical terminology and familiar with the medical billing and coding process. VMAs can help reduce administrative costs, increase practice profitability, and provide patients with more efficient care. A good virtual medical assistant is also highly reliable when it comes to data security and privacy. This allows practices to confidently store and share patient records without any risk of data breaches or privacy violations. Whether it’s processing insurance claims, submitting billing information, or scheduling appointments, VMAs can help make sure that every detail is taken care of with minimal effort on the practice’s part. In short, VMAs are a must-have for modern healthcare practices.
Benefits of Virtual Medical Assistants
Virtual medical assistants provide many benefits to modern medical practices, including:
VMAs can help practices organize and manage their workflow such as scheduling appointments and tracking workflow progress. Thus enabling team members to focus on patient care and their other must-do tasks.
VMAs can answer questions, respond to concerns, and facilitate communication between team members, patients, and insurance companies. This saves time and effort while reducing the likelihood of miscommunication and errors.
Improved Customer Service
VMAs can help practices provide better service to patients by addressing their questions and concerns and managing their expectations. In addition, virtual medical assistants can help reduce wait times and improve accuracy when scheduling appointments by utilizing the most appropriate appointment times for each patient.
VMAs can help practices save money by streamlining administrative processes and handling the more tedious and time-consuming tasks, such as insurance claim filing. They can also help reduce costs by managing the scheduling of equipment and lab tests.
VMAs and Practice Profitability
Practices that partner with virtual medical assistants can increase their profitability in several ways.
We’ve heard it before, “saving time will save money.” This is yet another way how VMAs help practices as they will tackle the more tedious and time-consuming administrative tasks, such as insurance claim filing. Doing so will free up team members’ time which will reduce overhead.
VMAs can also help reduce practices’ overhead by helping them reduce their staff’s work hours. Since VMAs handle the more tedious administrative tasks, practices can rely on their staff for more meaningful tasks, such as patient care, which increases productivity and ultimately increases profits.
They can also save money by helping practices reduce their investment in technology. Medical practices that rely on paper-based systems take on a significant investment, which VMAs help mitigate by providing solutions that don’t require major technology upgrades.
Processes VMAs Can Streamline
While VMAs help practices in many different ways, they can streamline the following administrative processes (some of which we mentioned above, but are worthy of getting a second mention).
- Filing insurance claims: VMAs can help practices file their insurance claims in a timely and accurate manner, which helps practices receive payment and avoid penalties. VMAs also understand the importance of filing all claims correctly, so they don’t accidentally leave out any information that could delay the claims process or cause the claim to be denied.
- Inventory tracking and management: VMAs can help practices track and manage their inventory, enabling them to efficiently schedule patient appointments and avoid running out of necessary equipment and supplies.
- HIPAA compliance: VMAs can help practices comply with HIPAA by securely storing sensitive patient information and maintaining hard drives, laptops, and servers. They can also manage patient expectations by educating patients on how their information is protected and what they can do to protect it as well.
- Lab test scheduling: VMAs can help practices schedule lab tests and keep track of the results, which is critical for managing patient care, providing accurate diagnoses, and avoiding misdiagnoses.
Hiring a Virtual Medical Assistant
When hiring a VMA, it is important to note that choosing an unqualified or inexperienced VMA can actually hurt your business, rather than help it. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a reputable and reliable VMA service, like Virtual Gal Friday, that only hires qualified professionals.
To ensure you choose the right VMA, you should consider the following:
- Experience: Make sure that the VMA you choose has the necessary experience and skills for the job.
- Credentials: Ensure that the VMA you choose is properly licensed and certified, and has the necessary accreditations and memberships that indicate their expertise.
- References: Before you hire any VMA, contact their previous clients and references to learn more about their experience working with them.
- Cost: The cost of a VMA service varies depending on the VMA’s experience and skills, type, and the number of services provided, as well as the number of hours they bill per week. Therefore, you should consider how much you are able to spend on a VMA before choosing one.
Final Thoughts on Virtual Medical Assistants
Ultimately, virtual medical assistants are a must-have for modern healthcare practices by significantly improving the efficiency and profitability of healthcare organizations. Now, remember, having a great VMA is only beneficial if your (as the owner of the organization) ducks are in a row. Therefore, this is only one piece (albeit, an important one) to running a successful practice. Schedule your complimentary discovery call today, and together, we can determine what aspects of your business should be examined first.