Do you want to hire an administrative assistant without worrying about space constraints at your medical office or the cost of hiring an additional person?
Do you want to outsource time-consuming office tasks so your staff can focus on patient interactions?
Are you concerned about your staff feeling overwhelmed by the stresses of medical billing and claims management?
The solution to all these concerns is hiring a virtual remote assistant or a team of assistants.
Even though virtual remote assistants (VRA) cannot replace medical staff in your healthcare outfit, they can carry out many administrative responsibilities, giving your medical team the time to attend to patient needs. Hiring virtual remote assistants will increase the efficiencies of your internal staff, lower administrative costs at your practice, and improve day-to-day monitoring and reporting of your billing processes.
Who is a Virtual Remote Assistant?
As the keyword ‘remote’ connotes, a VRA provides administrative assistance off-site. These assistants can handle executive responsibilities (such as making and receiving phone calls and setting up patient appointments) and the tasks associated with medical billing, claims submission, and revenue collection. Here are some of the core administrative tasks you can outsource to a medical virtual remote assistant service:
- Authorization management
- Referral management
- Credentialing using Pecos and CAQH
- Text and chat support for your patients.
- Remotely assist your in-house staff with any non-clinical tasks.
- Data entry of patient demographics.
- Patient insurance eligibility verification.
While hiring a virtual assistant, a common concern is the security of patients’ data and other sensitive information. A professionally managed virtual remote assistant service will ensure that all virtual assistant staff is trained on data security protocols and HIPAA compliance. In addition, professional remote assistant services use HIPAA-compliant cloud-based software and have an in-house IT team to monitor risks to data. Thus, rest assured that your digital assets are as safe, if not safer, than when you handle these processes internally.
FIVE Advantages of Hiring a Virtual Remote Assistant
Hiring a professional virtual remote assistance service for your medical enterprise has several benefits. Chief among them is how they make your health care service run smoothly and efficiently.
- Reduce physician and staff stress
One of the significant challenges that medical practitioners experience is having to juggle non-clinical tasks and their primary medical responsibilities. It’s a lot of work and insufficient time, resulting in burnout among physicians and medical staff, disrupting a smooth patient experience. A virtual medical assistant will take over the non-clinical workload so that you and your medical team can focus on your core responsibilities.
- Improve teamwork and productivity
Since your on-site medical staff can finally delegate routine administrative tasks to your virtual assistant, the medical practice team will be more productive in their core responsibilities. The occurrence of staff friction, which often stems from stress, will reduce as everyone happily focuses on producing results in their area of strength. Efficient teamwork and staff productivity will improve patient engagement and satisfaction. This client experience can boost your HCAHPS scores and encourage higher reimbursements for your medical enterprise.
- Lower administrative costs
When you hire a virtual remote assistant, your operating costs are significantly lower than hiring internally. The virtual remote assistant service usually takes care of resources like office space, internet connection, computers, and phones required for the job. You don’t have to pay for low-volume days or system downtimes because you pay for the final output.
Hiring a virtual remote assistant saves money that can be invested in other critical aspects of your practice, such as upgrading medical equipment, hiring an audit consultant, or obtaining certifications.
- Access non-clinical task expertise
Your internal staff may juggle multiple roles due to the paucity of people to handle those jobs. Virtual task services offer specialized services, and the staff hired are trained specifically for those tasks. Thus, the VRA service can deliver greater efficiencies in tasks such as credentialing, claims submission, denial management, and revenue reporting. With a VMA, you get professional support in every department of your practice at a fraction of the cost of hiring full-time staff.
- Increase patients’ trust in your medical practice
The professional virtual remote assistant meticulously records patients’ details digitally, such as medical history, treatments, prescriptions, and recommended follow-ups. It will make it easier for you to see patients during subsequent appointments without the need to ask already answered questions. Also, the competent handling of patients’ insurance eligibility and verification by the virtual remote assistant will help your practice accurately communicate charges to patients. This will minimize the risk of last-minute medical cost surprises and help your client prepare for the expenses. You can also use a virtual remote assistant for sending text or email reminders on appointments and outstanding dues.
The improved efficiencies of patient processes in your medical office give an assurance of expertise and boost your overall brand value.
Things to Look out for When Hiring a Virtual Remote Assistant(s)
Streamlining the workflow by outsourcing non-clinical tasks is a sure way to improve business productivity. But how can you be sure you are hiring the right team of virtual remote assistants for your practice? Here are a few critical factors before you hire a virtual remote assistant.
- Types and volume of tasks to be outsourced – Knowing the administrative tasks to be outsourced is the first step to hiring the right VRA. For instance, do you need help verifying patient appointments via (phone calls, texts, or online chats), or do you want to outsource denial management, AR collections, and patient demographics? Also, depending on the volume of daily tasks, you may need to hire only one assistant to begin with, which can later be scaled to a higher number by the virtual task assistance service. Depending on how much work you can spare, look out for a virtual medical assistant that can give you at least seven to eight productive work hours a day.
- Software expertise and data safety standards – Find out if your potential VRA has the requisite certifications and skills to handle your company’s management software. Also, be sure they have had their HIPAA compliance training. PracticeForces is experienced in working with software such as Advanced MD, Athena One, GE Centricity, eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, and many others. It will be best to understand data security standards and how the VRA intends to safeguard your data from cyber-attacks.
- Location – Generally, companies that hire virtual assistants must choose between offshore and onshore VRAs. Onshore VRAs work in the same country as the medical enterprise. The similarities in language or accent and time zone make it easier for them to communicate effectively with your local clients. It’s important to note that an onshore VRA will charge higher rates than an offshore counterpart. Offshore VRAs can be in any country, yet they’ll provide the necessary expertise you would expect from a virtual medical assistant. Typically, offshore remote virtual assistants based in the Asian time zone may work better for a US-based practice. For instance, if you outsource patient data entry, the task would be completed by a remote assistant based in India before your next workday begins. Virtual remote assistants work with flexible hours and are not bound by the rigid 9-5 time-line traditional employees use. What’s more, their services are more affordable than Onshore VRAs. Some of their charges start from as low as $5/ hour! Some of the best VRAs to hire are from countries like the Philippines and India. They are affordable and grasp the American culture and language well.
- Experience in working with your specialty – Has the virtual task assistance service worked with practices of your specialty? As a medical coding and billing company, PracticeForces has experience working with diverse specialties, including neurology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, primary care physicians, cardiology, and mental health, to name a few.
Hiring a virtual remote assistant will help you stand out in this competitive healthcare industry by providing quality, seamless service to your patients. End staffing nightmares by hiring our remote virtual assistants – contact PracticeForces to get the best virtual remote assistance.