A virtual assistant is a person who provides administrative and other services remotely, usually via the internet. They are also known as an online personal assistant or a telework assistant, among other things. A virtual assistant is not a software program, but rather a real person with administrative skills who can help you complete various tasks that you might find tedious or time-consuming. It’s just like having your own personal secretary who works from home. Working with a virtual assistant may seem like it’s reserved for businesses that are much larger than yours—after all, why would they want to spend time assisting you? The truth is that even smaller companies can benefit greatly from hiring a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can take on many roles in your company and help streamline processes and cut down on red tape wherever they can. Here’s why it’s important for medical practices to have one:
Focus on Patient Care
If your practice is large enough to employ multiple doctors and other employees, it may also have a sizable support team to assist them. Unfortunately, sometimes support staff is pulled in so many directions at once that their efforts and attention are not entirely focused on patient care… even though your patients and their needs must always come first. For this reason, it may be beneficial to hire a virtual assistant who can help out with administrative tasks that do not involve patient care.
A VA can take on a number of tasks to free up your staff so they can better focus on patient care. They can help schedule appointments, file insurance paperwork, and generally make sure that your team is as efficient as possible. VAs often have excellent communication skills and can be very helpful with inbound communication. Virtual assistants can take messages, screen calls, and direct them to the appropriate person. They can also take care of outbound communication by sending emails and making phone calls on behalf of your team. Ultimately, this frees up your staff to focus on what is most important—serving your patients.
Virtual Assistants Can Manage Your Calendar
If your practice relies on an online calendar to keep its staff on track, chances are good that you have to log into the calendar on a daily basis to update it with new appointments, make changes, etc. Hiring a virtual assistant who is familiar with scheduling and calendar management practices can help you stay on top of your calendar without having to log into it all the time.
A virtual assistant can take care of the following when it comes to the calendar:
- adding new appointments to your calendar
- make adjustments when appointments need to be rescheduled
- send out reminders to patients when their appointments are upcoming
This cuts down on the amount of work your staff has to do on a daily basis and can help them stay more organized as a result.
If your practice offers online booking, a virtual assistant can also help with this process to:
- take bookings
- confirm availability
- take payments
- send out confirmations to patients
Virtual Assistants Can Answer Your Phone Calls
Some medical practices use automated systems to manage incoming calls to avoid having to put staff members on the phone at all until they are ready to talk to a patient or client directly. However, this can leave the patient frustrated at best because they never get to talk to anyone. That said, a virtual assistant can complete many of the same tasks as an automated phone system while giving the patient an opportunity to actually speak to a human being.
Virtual assistants can do the following:
- screen calls
- take messages
- transfer calls to the appropriate person when necessary
The best part is that virtual assistants can be trained to use the same language and speak in the same tone of voice as your staff members, helping your patients feel as though they are receiving the same level of care and attention as before.
Virtual Assistants Can Organize and Manage Your Electronic Records
Organization is one of the most essential components of any successful medical practice. It can make the difference between a profitable business and one that barely stays afloat. A virtual assistant who specializes in organization can help your staff keep everything in order, making it easier to find what they’re looking for and making the process of filing and retrieving documents more efficient.
Additionally, a virtual assistant can help your team keep track of insurance information and stay up-to-date on billing practices. This can cut down on staff hours, freeing up time for other important tasks.
Virtual assistants bring many benefits to medical practices of all sizes and types. These assistants can help your staff save time and energy by taking on administrative tasks and providing general organizational assistance. Hiring a virtual assistant is an excellent way to augment your team and improve processes in your medical practice.
If you have any questions, we happen to specialize in virtual assistants as Nancy’s first business, Virtual Gal Friday, provides virtual assistants and have worked with thousands of medical practices over the years! That said, be sure to ask about virtual assistants during your complimentary discovery call!
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