Gone are the days when you had to hire an in-office assistant to help you with your business tasks. With technological advances, you can hire a virtual assistant (or VA) to do your work remotely.
Remote workers are becoming a common sight in all industries. There's no reason for the healthcare sector to stay behind. Whether you want dedicated assistants to do administrative tasks or need a full-time assistant to do personal tasks, there's a remote professional you can hire.
Besides saving money, you can also access a huge pool of virtual assistants with different skill sets and expertise. Moreover, your assistants can work flexible hours, eliminating the hassle of a long commute. Today, it’s not hard to find virtual assistants on par with industry standards, streamlining your business activities.
But how do you know if a VA is suitable for you, and how do you find the best one? How do you create a team of experts, including virtual coders, receptionists, and transcriptionists? In this guide, we'll answer all your questions about finding the best virtual assistants.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person who provides administrative, creative, or technical assistance to clients remotely from a home office.
There are many types of virtual assistants, and their services can vary greatly. For example, some virtual assistants may perform only basic tasks, such as setting appointments and sending emails.
In contrast, others can handle more complex tasks, such as bookkeeping, social media management, and marketing. A virtual assistant with specialized skills, such as advanced accounting, can also partake in payroll management.
Likewise, an assistant with basic accounting skills and some training could help with medical coding.
A virtual assistant's services are limited only by their skills and abilities. Many virtual assistants are highly skilled and can provide clients with a wide range of services. Since they can do a range of tasks, virtual assistants are worth the investment.
For instance, a virtual assistant can help in project management, social media management, or digital marketing strategy curation. Thus, you can have a remote project manager, digital marketing assistant, or content marketing expert at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee fulfilling the same roles.
Did you know Hello Rache's qualified virtual administrative assistants can save your business more than 50% while providing improved care? Likewise, you can hire a virtual receptionist for your clinic or office. Learn how it works here.
What can virtual assistants do in a healthcare facility?
Virtual assistants in a veterinary, medical, or dental healthcare facility can do many tasks. Besides administrative tasks, a dedicated assistant can do a lot more.
- Check patients in/out
- Schedule appointments
- Answer phone calls
- Update patient records
- File insurance claims
- Call clients to remind them of appointments
- Transcribe dictated medical reports
They may also act as backup assistants when your in-house task management experts are absent or busy with other tasks. Virtual assistants can also provide personal assistance to healthcare providers, managing in-clinic tasks, such as transcribing patient records.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data forecasts an 11% increase in medical administrative and secretarial jobs from 2020 to 2030.
Virtual assistants can help you offload some of the increased demand for labor without having to go through long and laborious hiring processes.
What are the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant?
There are many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant. First, it can save your business money. By hiring a virtual assistant, you can avoid the costs of traditional office space and equipment.
It can also save you time. A virtual assistant can handle tasks that would otherwise take up your time, such as appointment setting, email management, and social media marketing.
Other benefits of virtual assistants include:
- Reduced operating costs: Since you don't need to provide physical office space or equipment for a virtual assistant, so you can save on operating costs.
- Flexibility: Virtual assistants can work from anywhere in the world. You can hire someone based on their skill set rather than their location.
- Increased productivity: A virtual assistant can handle tasks that would otherwise take up your time, freeing you up to focus on other aspects of your business.
- Access to a vast talent pool: As you're not limited by geographical boundaries when hiring a virtual assistant, you have access to a much larger talent pool.
How much should you pay virtual assistants?
On average, virtual assistants earn $16.40 per hour. While this is the median salary, experienced virtual assistants doing complex tasks can make up to $27.30 per hour. The hourly rate differs based on the kind of work the assistant does.
For instance, an administrative assistant might have a higher hourly rate than a transcriber.
To learn more about how Hello Rache can help your medical/veterinary/dental practice save time and money with qualified virtual assistants, book a call with our team.
Factors that affect a virtual assistant's salary
An integral step of the hiring process is determining how much to pay a virtual assistant. Certain factors can affect how much you pay your virtual assistant. Here are some of them:
- Location: Virtual assistants who live in high-cost areas will likely charge more per hour than those in lower-cost regions. For instance, virtual assistants in New York City will charge more than those in Omaha, and much higher than ones based in the Philippines.
- Skill level: More experienced and skilled virtual assistants will charge more per hour than less experienced and skilled ones. For instance, an assistant with coding or typing skills may charge more.
- Type of tasks: The tasks you need help with will also affect how much you pay your virtual assistant. For instance, if you need help with complex tasks that require a high level of expertise, you will pay more than if you need help with simple tasks that anyone can do.
- Experience Level: A highly experienced virtual assistant will charge more than a virtual assistant with less experience. For instance, if a healthcare virtual assistant has past experience working as a medical transcriptionist, they will charge more than a virtual assistant without that experience. (Note that salary ranges in the table below are based on an average of US virtual assistant salaries, not what Hello Rache charges per hour.)
- Market benchmark: When determining the salary for your recruit, you also need to consider the market average. How much are other companies in your industry paying for similar positions? Knowing this and basing your offer accordingly will help determine if you are offering a competitive salary.
- Education or certifications: Some healthcare virtual assistants may have degrees or certifications in medical coding or billing, which could lead to a higher hourly rate.
Besides these factors, the hours of service will also determine the virtual assistant’s salary. If you want them to work additional hours, you may have to pay the overtime rate, which is typically higher than the regular hourly rate.
Qualifications to look for in virtual healthcare assistants
When hiring a healthcare virtual assistant, you'll want to consider their qualifications. Typically, a high school diploma is required. However, many healthcare virtual assistants have a post-secondary degree, such as an Associate's or Bachelor's degree.
Additionally, most healthcare virtual assistants have some experience working in a medical office, although this is not always required.
It's best to give preference to candidates who have taken short courses on medical billing, medical assistants, etc. These virtual assistants will require little to no training since they already have the basic medical knowledge to complete their tasks.
Which skills are popular for virtual assistants?
When hiring a virtual assistant, look for professionals with the following skills since these skills are highly sought.
- Office administration: The most important thing a virtual assistant can do is keep your office organized and running smoothly. It includes handling customer inquiries, preparing reports, scheduling appointments, and managing your emails.
- MS Office: A virtual assistant must have proficiency in MS Office. They should be able to use MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
- Data entry: A virtual assistant's job description may include data entry. They will be responsible for inputting data into your company's systems accurately and efficiently.
- Customer service: Virtual assistants will answer phone calls, reply to emails, and help with customer service inquiries. Therefore, keeping the patients happy and satisfied should be one of the top priorities for any medical assistant.
- Bookkeeping: Many virtual assistants are also responsible for bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing, tracking expenses, and payroll management.
- Online research: A healthcare virtual assistant should also be familiar with conducting online research. They should be able to find relevant information on the internet, whether for a specific health condition or just general knowledge.
Of course, when we’re talking about a virtual assistant in a healthcare setting, these soft skills are great, but you’ll also need a level of medical literacy and other hard and soft skills.
What to look for in a virtual assistant for healthcare settings
Virtual assistants in a healthcare facility have to do a lot more than schedule appointments and keep track of medical records. Here are some things you should look for when hiring a virtual assistant in a healthcare setting:
A healthcare virtual assistant needs to be flexible to adapt to the ever-changing needs of a healthcare facility.
They should be able to work independently and be comfortable with change. If you want to provide 24/7 service to your patients, look for virtual assistants who can work outside business hours.
While it may cost a bit more, it will still be cheaper than hiring a full-time employee.
HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance is a must for any healthcare virtual assistant. They should be familiar with the requirements of HIPAA and how to maintain patient confidentiality.
Furthermore, they should know what to do in a data breach. Hello Rache conducts NBI background checks on its virtual medical assistants to ensure they have sufficient HIPAA training.
Moreover, clients get access to professional documents, such as photo ID, HIPAA training certificate, and NBI background check, for the virtual assistants they hire. You won’t get the same level of reliability and compliance from any other virtual assistant company.
Your virtual assistant must have excellent customer service skills. They will be interacting with patients regularly and must be able to handle delicate situations with ease.
They should also be familiar with basic medical terminology to communicate with patients and staff accurately.
It's also beneficial if a virtual assistant has other talents, such as medical marketing. A virtual assistant with healthcare marketing experience can help to develop and implement marketing strategies for your facility.
Likewise, you can look for a virtual assistant with transcription experience. They can be a valuable asset in handling patient records and medical billing.
Familiarity with EHRs
Since a virtual assistant in healthcare may be responsible for managing electronic health records, they must have some experience with this type of software. They should be able to navigate the system and understand how to input data correctly. Additionally, they should be familiar with different types of EHRs to be flexible in case your facility changes systems.
Solid organizational skills
A virtual healthcare assistant must have excellent organizational skills to keep track of medical records, appointments, and billing information. It’s one of the most basic virtual assistant services.
They should be able to quickly and easily access any needed information. But, more importantly, they should be proactive in solving problems, so they don't cause any disruption to the workflow of the facility.
How to shortlist the best virtual assistants?
Once you've decided to hire a virtual assistant, the next step is to begin finding and vetting candidates. Here are some tips on how to create a substantial list of qualified contenders:
- Check references: Testimonials from previous clients can be a helpful way to learn about a virtual assistant's work style and skills.
- Look for experience: When reviewing potential candidates, ask about their previous experience working as a virtual assistant.
- Gauge technological expertise: Can the candidate work with the technology you use in your business? Ask about their experience with relevant software and platforms.
- Consider language skills: If you need a virtual assistant who can communicate with clients or customers in a specific language, include that in your search criteria.
- Examine work samples: Many virtual assistants have online portfolios that showcase their previous work. Reviewing these can give you an idea about the candidate's suitability for your medical practice.
Are virtual assistant services worth the cost?
Indeed. If you are running a business or even just managing personal affairs, a virtual assistant can be an invaluable resource, freeing up your time to focus on the things that matter most to you.
Virtual assistants can provide a wide range of administrative and clinical support services in a medical setting, from scheduling appointments to charting medical records.
Hire the best virtual assistants for your practice
Virtual assistants in healthcare settings can help with several tasks, from keeping track of appointments and medications to providing customer support. They can also help with more complex tasks, like providing information about treatments and coordinating care.
When looking for the best virtual assistants, it's essential to look for their qualifications, HIPAA knowledge, previous experience, and skills. If you’re on your own, this can be almost as time-consuming a process as hiring a regular employee.
Luckily, we’ve already done that work for you. We scour applications year-round to find experienced medical scribes and other virtual assistants with suitable education and experience for working in healthcare. If you’re ready to hand over the back-office tasks to a qualified, HIPAA-certified virtual assistant, get in touch with Hello Rache today.
Schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and see how we can help you streamline your workflow.