Do you have too many clerical tasks on your plate as a physician?
Or is your receptionist constantly burdened by administrative tasks preventing them from adequately greeting your patients?
If you can relate to either of the above, your practice could benefit from hiring a medical secretary. These administrative professionals help medical clinics and offices run more smoothly, as everyone operates in their zone of genius.
What if hiring a medical secretary is too steep of an investment? Let’s discuss what medical secretaries can do and whether a virtual medical secretary is the best choice for your practice.
What is a medical secretary?
Medical secretaries work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, private practices, medical clinics, and more to support physicians and other medical professionals. Their role is comparable to that of a clinic assistant.
These administrative professionals handle the bulk of bureaucratic duties in a medical setting. Depending on the clinic’s needs, medical secretaries may simultaneously work as receptionists.
Some medical secretaries can act as personal assistants for a physician or doctor. In larger practices, each physician can have their own dedicated medical secretary.
With Hello Rache, you can bring a certified Healthcare Virtual Assistant on your team to perform the same duties a medical secretary would, but at less than half the cost. Book a call with our team to learn more about how this works.
What is the role of a medical secretary?
Wondering what you can delegate to a medical secretary? Here’s a list of what a medical secretary can do for physicians or doctors.
1. Update patient records
Whenever you create handwritten notes (or receive them from patients), a medical secretary can take those notes and transcribe them into an EMR/EHR system.
You can also provide voice recordings to your medical secretary if you need an audio-to-text transcription. For example, you can record yourself detailing a treatment plan for a patient and let the medical secretary type the details into that patient’s file.
A medical secretary must also keep all patient files updated and accurate. When patients or their loved ones call the clinic with additional information to convey, the secretary can input this data into the patient’s file.
Your medical secretary can also manage any other type of medical documentation you need help with.
2. Answer phones and greet patients (when no receptionist is available)
Some larger clinics have dedicated receptionists to greet patients, answer phones, and instruct patients upon their arrival. But in many smaller practices, the medical secretary is responsible for all receptionist duties as well as their own.
Not only can medical secretaries take care of scheduling appointments for people who call the clinic, but they can also follow up with existing patients to:
- Make appointment reminders
- Book follow-up appointments
- Cancel or reschedule appointments as needed
Medical secretaries can also screen phone calls and direct them to the appropriate person on your team. They act as a gatekeeper between physicians and everyone else so that you can spend as much time as possible on your highest-priority tasks.
3. Manage the clinic’s agenda
Because medical secretaries handle appointment scheduling and reminders, they usually handle the entire clinic’s agenda — unless there’s more than one secretary working there.
For example, they can make travel arrangements for physicians when it’s required. They can also make sure no time conflicts arise.
Furthermore, medical secretaries may be required to organize staff birthdays and other office events.
4. Handle billing
Billing patients in a medical setting is no easy task. That’s why medical secretaries need to handle billing-related tasks carefully.
For instance, they often need to perform insurance verifications and preauthorizations to make sure patients can receive the treatment they need. Because this is not as straightforward as paying for a regular service, a large part of a medical secretary’s day can be spent communicating with insurance companies.
If a private practice doesn’t have a dedicated bookkeeper, a medical secretary can also handle light bookkeeping tasks, like keeping track of expenses and revenue. However, they’re usually not qualified to make financial reports, unlike certified accountants.
5. Manage your inbox
If your clinic receives an influx of emails, a medical secretary can help ease that pressure. Similar to an executive assistant, a medical secretary can keep your inbox under control and sift through all the incoming messages.
They can also respond on your behalf or represent you or other members of your team. And because many businesses communicate via email, secretaries can handle exchanges with vendors and other partners.
How much does a medical secretary cost to hire?
If you want to hire a medical secretary for your private practice, here’s what you can expect regarding costs.
Medical secretaries make an average of $19.11 per hour in the US. In addition to this cost, you’ll have to factor in other overheads and employee benefits.
Wish you could hire a medical secretary at a lower cost? Well, now you can. A Healthcare Virtual Assistant from Hello Rache costs a flat rate of just $9.50 per hour.
Difference between a medical secretary and a receptionist
If you’re wondering whether you should hire a receptionist or a medical secretary to handle your medical office administration tasks, here’s what you need to know:
A receptionist’s main duties are to handle the reception area, greet patients, and answer the phone. They represent the face of your business and make sure patients know what to do once they arrive at your clinic.
In most cases, receptionists can also handle payment processing.
On the other hand, secretaries handle the bulk of administrative tasks in a medical office. For example, they can manage appointments, document management, and coordinate activities for other members of the staff.
That’s why receptionists average an hourly wage of only $14.40 in the US. They typically have significantly fewer responsibilities than secretaries.
However, secretaries can do receptionist-type work, and they often do. That’s why you’ll often see a secretary representing the face of a clinic instead of a receptionist. If necessary, you can have two separate people and positions if you have an overflow of work.
What is a virtual medical secretary?
A virtual medical secretary is a medical secretary who works remotely instead of directly in your clinic. Because they work remotely, you can hire them from all over the world.
Virtual assistants at Hello Rache are trained healthcare professionals who can work as secretaries in a medical setting.
6 reasons to hire a virtual medical secretary
Here are six reasons to consider hiring a remote medical secretary instead of an in-house employee to work at your clinic:
1. Save money
Even receptionists in the US make more than virtual medical secretaries.
You also don’t need to spend money on payroll, as Hello Rache provides benefits and paid time off to its virtual assistants.
2. Hire experienced secretaries with medical experience
Our Healthcare Virtual Assistants aren’t just clerical workers — unlike many medical secretaries, they have other experience in the medical field.
That’s because Hello Rache HVAs are either registered nurses or other healthcare professionals. And if you’re wondering why a registered nurse would take on a role as a virtual medical secretary, here’s why that makes sense:
Hello Rache HVAs all come from the Philippines — a country known for its hard-working and friendly people. In the Philippines, a registered nurse makes an average of only $20 per day working in their field.
On top of this low wage, they also have to sit through up to three hours of commuting each day.
As a result, many Filipinos seek employment abroad to earn more for their families. However, this requires them to leave their families for long periods.
Working as a Healthcare Virtual Assistant instead allows them to work from home and remain close to their families. They also make two to three times the average wage of a registered nurse.
Not only are virtual assistants skilled healthcare professionals, but they’re also HIPAA-compliant according to US standards. Additionally, they have all the required skills to excel in the role of a secretary, which means they can keep your private practice running smoothly and efficiently.
3. Save time for everyone on your team
Take the burden of administrative tasks off your shoulders by hiring a virtual medical secretary. You can increase your capacity and start seeing more patients, which can help you increase your revenue.
You can also stop doing your own medical transcription. Whether you handwrite your notes or dictate them, your virtual medical secretary can act as a virtual scribe, transforming all your notes into electronic records.
Your medical staff can put their time to better use instead of wasting time updating medical records.
And a remote medical secretary can help everyone on your team, not just you. For example, if you have a receptionist, hiring a remote medical secretary can lighten their workload so they can focus more on greeting your patients.
Patients won’t have to wait until the receptionist gets off the phone before they receive a greeting. Additionally, you won’t have to spend too much on overtime pay for receptionists who are catching up on paperwork.
4. Get happier patients
You — and the rest of your team — will have more time to focus on your patients when a virtual medical secretary is there to handle the cumbersome tasks that fall on your plate.
By spending more time with your patients, you can mitigate medical errors and shorten wait times.
And when your patients have a pleasant experience at your clinic, you are more likely to retain them and get referrals.
5. Simplify live charting
Your virtual medical secretary can act as a live scribe by handling patient charting during your appointments.
Instead of taking notes while you’re speaking to a patient, your virtual assistant can do that for you. This also means you won’t have to worry about updating patient medical charts between appointments or at the end of your work day.
While live charting is possible with an in-person medical secretary, the process is much more intrusive. Not all patients are comfortable having someone else in the room during a medical examination.
On the other hand, virtual assistants can listen to appointments from a tablet or laptop. Even though they’re technically present in the room, this virtual process is much less intrusive than having someone physically sitting in the room.
6. Reduce burnout
Working in the medical field is demanding. Many physicians get overworked during their careers.
47% of physicians — almost half — experience burnout in their careers. And excess paperwork is one of the main reasons this happens. 60% of physicians say that too many bureaucratic tasks contribute to their burnout the most.
Another common contributing factor to burnout is spending too many hours at work. 34% of physicians attribute their burnout to this cause.
You can outsource your bureaucratic work to your virtual assistant instead of staying late every day. It’s much easier to enjoy shorter work days when you can go home and rest easy knowing someone is responsible for staying on top of those administrative tasks.
Plus, your virtual assistant can get rid of all that extra paperwork weighing you down.
Remove the burden of administration with your own virtual medical secretary
You don’t have to hire both a medical secretary and a receptionist to help your private practice run smoothly.
If you have a receptionist who needs extra support, a virtual medical secretary is a much more affordable solution than an in-person secretary. And if you don’t have a receptionist yet, you can even implement a virtual front desk with virtual assistants.
Book a call with our team to start the process of getting your own virtual medical secretary.