An Introduction to Virtual Healthcare Assistants

Many people are still unaware of the virtual healthcare business, let alone a rapidly growing industry.

Common sense dictates that medical professionals aren’t the only kind of healthcare workers. Additionally, most people also understand that medical practitioners need help to run their workplaces as efficiently and effectively as possible. 

Most people go to a hospital for check-ups maybe twice a year, and they schedule an appointment in advance through the phone and set it for the next week.

As it turns out, hospitals and other healthcare facilities have medical assistants and bookkeeping staff. Many of these assistants moved operations online or signed up for remote work.

It began as just a way to bring work home due to time constraints. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the practice quickly evolved into something much bigger and further reaching.

This growth, and the possibilities of reaching more people, contributed to the rise of a virtual healthcare assistant. It makes sense; everything is on the Internet these days, and healthcare providers would miss out if they ignored that.

What is Virtual Assistant Healthcare?

A virtual assistant, or VA, is an independent contractor who handles administrative tasks for a client without being a part of a client’s company; more importantly, a virtual assistant does so remotely. A business in San Francisco might have virtual assistants hired from as far off as Miami. Some businesses even outsource their virtual assistants from outside of their home country, perhaps in the Philippines.

Virtual healthcare assistants extend the concept to the administrative tasks needed to run a healthcare business. For example, a virtual healthcare assistant might handle phone calls, appointment scheduling, travel arrangements, sending and receiving emails, and much more. It may be surprising to find that they’ve been operating for quite some time now, but the Covid-19 pandemic was only part of the recent boom.

Unfortunately, most medical records are still housed in physical mediums. Paper and ink are a hassle to sort and transport, so part of the job might include transcribing that data into digital formats.

It’s a necessity in the Internet age, and besides that, the economic effects have been staggering. The business is growing so fast that financial experts say the market will reach 1.76 billion in US dollars by 2025, based on the Hit Consultant website article of Jasmine Pennic.

With that being the case, the market’s rapid growth suggests this is the best time to start hiring VAs before the opportunities (and the best candidates) slip by.

What does a virtual healthcare assistant do?

A virtual assistant’s back office support duties are broad, ranging from record-keeping and scheduling to billing and collections. Everything must be noted down and appointments carefully arranged, not just for the patients’ sake; doctors and nurses can only be in so many places at once.

From there, it comes down to answering phone calls and emails. Healthcare providers receive plenty of both, from subscription-based newsletters to actual patient concerns. A virtual healthcare assistant might have to sift through the junk mail to find appointments, requests, and other correspondence that a healthcare provider must address.

Sometimes virtual healthcare assistants are tasked with refilling prescriptions as per a pharmacist’s instructions or ordering more supplies such as medicine and consumable equipment (syringes, bandages, etc.) However, they aren’t allowed to write prescriptions independently due to differences in state laws regarding controlled substances.

Virtual healthcare assistants can also verify a patient’s insurance claims, including the assessment of relevant documents. In addition, virtual healthcare assistants can evaluate a patient’s condition and plan a doctor’s visit in some cases, though this is relatively rare.

Another thing they can do is marketing: Many virtual healthcare assistants also handle public relations, especially online.

Beyond the above points, virtual healthcare assistants usually have backgrounds in other fields that might make them valuable assets to your workplace. So, as you can see, they have plenty to offer to a potential employer. 

Does a virtual healthcare assistant need a medical background?

The short answer is yes, they do.

The long answer is that assistants need the appropriate knowledge to assure their employers of their expertise. For example, it’s no secret that employers can research potential applicants; a medical background lets them know their candidates understand the work. 

Virtual healthcare assistants are still medical assistants even if they work remotely. Thus, a medical background is the key to success: They need the same qualifications as regular medical assistants, including familiarity with hospital protocols, the methods of handling patient information, and the laws associated with the healthcare industry.

Additionally, a virtual healthcare assistant must be proficient in transferring and handling data through the Internet. Emails will make up a large portion of this, but they also need a thorough understanding of Internet security. 

Who should hire a virtual healthcare assistant?

Once a business gets busy enough, any business owner could benefit from hiring a VA. That said, hiring a virtual healthcare assistant just doesn’t make sense for clients not working in the healthcare industry or clients without significant medical needs.

Doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals would benefit the most from hiring virtual healthcare assistants. Next on the list are care facilities and clients with consistent medical concerns (such as the elderly, the disabled, or the chronically ill).

How do I hire a virtual healthcare assistant?

The good news is it’s pretty simple, and you don’t need to be deeply involved in the medical industry to hire virtual healthcare assistants.

You still have the option of searching out staff on your own, in which case you need to either put out an advertisement or search through resumes. However, both are costly and time-consuming options. If you want to get a virtual assistant to make your work more manageable, or at least to do the work you don’t want to do, you don’t want to waste time on something that may not yield results.

The best method is to search for a reputable staffing agency. Healthcare staffing agencies are specifically made to put professional healthcare personnel in the jobs that need them. Nurses, doctors, and more can apply to these agencies for the express purpose of getting in touch with business partners, including virtual assistants.

Staffing agencies also have the advantage of doing most of the screening for you. You can tell them what you need, what kind of qualifications you’re looking for, and other relevant details. If you can provide that, there will be a high chance they already have virtual assistants on their payroll that fulfill those requirements.

Additionally, suppose they don’t already have assistants on hand. In that case, you won’t need to worry about looking for them on your own; the whole point of staffing agencies is that they can effectively search for the staff you need.

In conclusion

A virtual healthcare assistant is a medical assistant who works online, often remotely. They can handle administrative tasks, scheduling and phone calls, and even online public relations. They are required to have a background in the medical industry.

Hospitals, private medical practitioners, and care homes would get the most from hiring one. Still, anyone who needs a little extra help setting up regular doctor’s appointments would benefit considerably.

You can hire an online healthcare assistant either by shopping around on your own or getting help from a healthcare staffing agency. Healthcare staffing agencies can specifically tailor staff to your needs, besides generally being more affordable and less strenuous than looking on your own.

It’s easy to guess that more businesses (and even more people) could use the help, more than it might initially seem. Virtual healthcare assistants taking the mental load off other healthcare personnel can only mean they do better at the jobs they’re supposed to be doing.

Are you looking for a virtual healthcare assistant now? If you are, look no further than Phoenix Virtual Solutions. Call us today so we can put you in touch with the virtual healthcare assistance you need.

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