What is a Healthcare Virtual Assistant?
As the healthcare industry continues to embrace the benefits of going digital, more healthcare facilities and practices are also starting to recognize the value of having a medical or healthcare virtual assistant (VA). But what actually is a virtual assistant for healthcare? What can they do to improve your practice?
Over the past couple of years, the cases of people working remotely have been steadily rising. In fact, an article from SmallBizGenius listed down a couple of eye-opening statistics to support the growing remote work trend:
- 16% of companies now hire remote workers exclusively
- Since 2005, the number of remote workers has increased by 140%
- 18% of people do their work remotely full time
The telecommuting trend has reached the healthcare sector too. With more healthcare facilities and practices going completely digital with EHRs, RCMs, etc., and using televisit, telecare, or telehealth appointments (1-on-1 video health consultations), there’s more reason to seek assistance from remote workers or home-based healthcare VAs to manage the online aspect of your healthcare practice.
What is a healthcare virtual assistant?
Not to be confused with an AI (artificial intelligence) virtual medical assistant which is designed to automate tasks, a healthcare or telehealth virtual assistant, health virtual assistant, or medical virtual assistant, is a person who helps with administrative and customer support tasks such as online appointment setting, customer engagement, and so on.
A virtual health assistant is an excellent budget-friendly way to supplement your in-house medical team. With a healthcare VA, you can free yourself and your in-house team from tedious administrative duties and focus on what really matters most — providing first-rate healthcare and medical services to your patients.
Even while working from home, a virtual assistant in healthcare can provide a massive improvement in the overall experience of your patients. Some telehealth VAs can engage your customers by answering their questions or proactively offering their help. A healthcare home-based virtual assistant can also remove the burden from your in-house staff, so wait times for your patients will be drastically reduced.
Some healthcare VAs also have nursing backgrounds and HIPAA training. Because of their medical background, nurses who work as healthcare virtual assistants can assist medical professionals even further by doing specialized tasks such as live in-room charting or medical transcription.
Hire a telehealth virtual assistant to do these tasks
Think a virtual medical office assistant is a much-needed addition to your practice? Great! But before you go and look at online job boards for a healthcare VA, it’s important to know exactly what tasks you’re going to delegate to them first.
Here are some of the tasks that a telehealth virtual assistant can do for you.
Administrative tasks take up a huge portion of a healthcare practice’s daily to-do list. From data entry work such as transferring physical health history forms to your digital database to keeping track of your appointments, there are a lot of admin tasks that need doing within a healthcare facility or practice. A home-based healthcare virtual assistant can take care of many of these tasks in order to improve workflow, save time, and generally make your practice a lot more efficient.
Here are some of the administrative duties that a remote healthcare VA can do:
- Digitizing health history forms
- EMR/EHR data management
- Patient appointment scheduling
- Insurance verification
- Medical authorizations
- Eligibility processing
- Medical billing
Assisting your customers with their questions, taking calls, answering chat messages, and responding to emails are also usually part of a healthcare virtual assistant’s task list. Think of them as online receptionists. Having them do these things allows your in-house staff to focus more on things that can only be done when physically present. This means that healthcare professionals have more hands-on people at their physical location without sacrificing the fast service that their customers deserve.
Here are some of the customer support duties that a healthcare VA can do:
- Online receptionist duties
- Email support
- Phone support
- Text support
- Online chat support
- Answering general patient questions
- Processing prescription refill requests
CREATIVE & TECHNICAL TASKS
Although specialist tasks are not necessarily done by healthcare VAs only, it’s also helpful to look into them to know whether you need assistance with these for your healthcare facility or practice. Having a strong presence online can boost your practice, and specialist VAs can really help you with that.
- Digital marketing
- Content writing
- Social media management
- Customer engagement
- Website development
- IT support
- Medical software setup
Do you need a healthcare VA?
Who can benefit from a telehealth virtual assistant? Practically any healthcare facility or practice! As long as you set the proper groundwork for your VA which means having the proper tools and software for them to use, you can definitely take advantage of the perks of having a remote healthcare VA.
Here are just a few healthcare facilities and practices that can benefit from hiring a healthcare VA:
- Clinics and Medical Offices
- Urgent Care Centers
- Ambulatory Surgical Centers
- Birth Centers
- Private Practice
- Group Practice
- Dental Clinics
- Mental Healthcare Facilities
- Nursing Homes
- Physical Therapy and other Rehabilitation Centers
Practically any type of healthcare practice has something to gain by hiring a virtual assistant because healthcare VAs can provide such a wide range of services. In many cases, healthcare VAs can also be easily trained to handle tasks that are specific to a certain type of practice.
Telehealth, COVID-19, and healthcare VAs
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many practices and healthcare facilities to impose a new way of doing things. Although telehealth, and eHealth in general, has been slowly being embraced by the medical community, COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, has definitely put a spotlight on virtual healthcare.
Healthcare virtual assistants complement telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare perfectly. Through the use of computers, medical software, communications tools, and other modern technology, healthcare professionals can provide patients with the necessary care from a remote location.
Propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, more medical and healthcare practices have been setting up telehealth systems and eHealth schemes to be able to continue providing much-needed care to their patients. If you’re setting up your own virtual healthcare system, it’s ideal to augment your process with a telehealth virtual assistant as well.
How to hire a telehealth virtual assistant
When it comes to hiring a healthcare VA, one of the most important soft skills to look for is a VA’s attention to detail. Medical data is very sensitive and a single tiny mistake can have costly or even dangerous consequences. This is why it’s essential to find VAs with proper training and experience. Even if a VA does not have a medical background or experience working for a healthcare practice, they can still be very useful as long as they are attentive, proactive, highly trainable, and very efficient.
What other skills do you need to look for? Fast typing skills with at least 60 WPM typing speed and high accuracy is a must if you want to ensure efficiency in admin work. Excellent oral and written communication skills are also very important.
A great way to ensure that your potential healthcare VA has all these characteristics is to work with a trusted virtual staffing company. Companies like 20four7VA have stringent vetting and hiring processes, so you know that you’re getting healthcare VA candidates that have already been pre-screened and pre-trained.
Think you need to hire a healthcare VA now? Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation call with us and we’ll get you right on track to finding and hiring the perfect healthcare VA for you.
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