How to Integrate a Virtual Medical Receptionist Service

Wondering how you can ease your administrative workload? Keep on reading to learn how a virtual medical receptionist can help

As a healthcare provider, the treatment and care of your patients are your top priority. However, administrative tasks can decrease the amount of time you’re on the floor with those who need you most.

Fortunately, a medical office virtual receptionist can help to ease your administrative workload to intake patient forms, handle incoming and outgoing calls, and schedule appointments. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the roles of a virtual medical receptionist and how partnering with an on-call virtual answering service can help to expand your business and optimize your operations.

What Is a Virtual Medical Receptionist?

A virtual medical receptionist is an off-site vendor responsible for handling the myriad administrative tasks necessitated by your practice. This arrangement offers some advantages that include but are not limited to: 

  • Savings – Working with a virtual receptionist service will likely be cheaper than hiring a full-time or part-time live receptionist. Typically, it omits the overhead costs associated with hiring additional employees. Instead, you’re working with a service that employs assistants, so you only pay for the baseline needed.

  • Availability – A physical receptionist is only available during the hours they’re at work. This means that when your offices are closed, your patients have no way to reach you. A virtual receptionist—since they do not need to be physically present—can be available 24/7, making sure your patients can always talk to someone when they need to.

  • Multi-channel communication – The ability to use people-powered live chat and text messaging leads to better communication with patients and providers. It also helps your practice convert leads by reaching out to potential patients where they are, ensuring no opportunities are lost.

  • Space – For smaller practices, a dedicated reception area may not be easily feasible. And even with larger practices, the more people in your space, the higher liability you take on in case of any accidents. Neither of these issues is of concern with a live virtual receptionist.

  • Scalability – Working with a live answering service that provides different pricing options allows you to only use what you need and easily add or subtract as necessary. You won’t have to pay for slow periods and you can easily amp up your services as your practice grows.

Of course, there are also potential downsides to working with virtual live receptionist services, which is why it’s important to find the right service to work with. For instance, Nexa’s trained medical team ensures HIPAA compliance, making sure you’re not opening yourself up to legal issues.

You’ll also want to ensure the service you hire is knowledgeable in the healthcare or medical industry and will be able to communicate with your patient base without facing unnecessary language barriers. Accuracy is of unique importance when dealing with any healthcare issue, so properly vetting the service you use should be a priority.

Tasks of a Virtual Medical Receptionist

When you partner with virtual medical receptionists, they will be able to complete a variety of administrative tasks that you would typically delegate to an in-office receptionist. These include:

  • Scheduling – Working with patients to properly schedule appointments is extremely important when optimizing your day-to-day operations. The 24/7 and multi-channel nature of a virtual receptionist makes this a much easier process. Patients can reach out at any time and reminders can be automatically sent to make sure your practice stays on schedule.

  • Answering phones – Patients have a lot of questions. While some of those questions can only be answered by a doctor, many can be fielded by a trained receptionist. And, for those issues that do require a healthcare provider, a virtual receptionist can transfer those patients to the proper channel.

  • Patient intake – Efficiently handling intake tasks and forms can improve your practice’s ability to diagnose and treat patients with ease. Ensuring that your practice is on schedule can make your patients feel comfortable and establish your practice as one patient can trust.

  • EHR integration – In today’s modern healthcare world, making sure your software has easy electronic health record integration will have a major impact on your practice. This can both improve the efficiency of your practice and ensure the security of your patient’s records, leading to a better experience for all.

  • Patient engagement – One issue facing medical practices is the idea of personalized care. Once a patient is not in the room with you, it’s easy for them to lose a feeling of connection with you and your practice. Virtual receptionists can reach out to patients before and after visits to make sure they feel fully cared for.

  • Billing From processing billing and payments to communicating with Medicare and private insurers, billing issues can take up a lot of time. Having a virtual receptionist take many of these issues off your plate can free up your schedule so you can focus more time on your patients.

Benefits of Virtual Medical Receptionist Services

Virtual receptionists can support lead generation through multi-channel communications using phone, live chat, and text messaging. Besides that, a receptionist service may also help to reduce patient wait times. 

According to a 2020 patient survey:

  • 43% of respondents said that wait times over 20 minutes frustrated them
  • 24% of respondents reported that they would change providers due to long wait times

With a virtual receptionist assigned to intake tasks and appointment scheduling, you can streamline your day-to-day operations and reduce wait times for your patients. 

While some patients will still require longer than expected visits and some wait times are unavoidable, your newly optimized systems will make sure these are infrequent occurrences, which can help your patients to feel prioritized. 

Potential Concerns

A virtual receptionist can schedule, answer phones, intake patients, and take over billing responsibilities to improve your practice’s productivity. However, when hiring a virtual medical receptionist service, it’s essential to vet possible providers regarding:

  • Legal liability – We mentioned HIPAA earlier, and we’re mentioning it again. You have a legal responsibility to your patients. Working with a service that doesn’t have specialists ready to work in the healthcare field and doesn’t have a set of standards to ensure HIPAA compliance is a recipe for legal disaster. As such, only hire a virtual receptionist service that’s well-versed in HIPAA compliance.

  • Training – Your practice is not just one of many. You’ve endeavored to create a credible and comfortable patient experience and you’ll want to make sure that your receptionist fits into your practice’s ethos. Look for a service that will go over the training process with you to ensure your virtual receptionist or virtual assistant for small business is representing you in the best way possible. Look for receptionists that are knowledgeable, empathetic, and professional.

  • Oversight – You don’t need to be a micromanager to be able to tell if a receptionist in your office is working well. You see them every day. However, that’s not the case with a virtual receptionist. You’ll want to discuss with any potential service how they provide oversight and whether you’ll be able to listen in on occasion to assess performance.

  • Analytics – Robust analytics is another tool you can use to ensure your patients are getting the highest quality service. By setting key performance indicators (KPIs) with your service, you can compile objective data that will show you how the service is performing.

  • Patient relations – A medical practice is a part of the community. That can create hesitation when you think of outsourcing any element of your practice. But, just because a virtual receptionist is not present in your office doesn’t mean they can’t understand the needs of your community. Make sure the service you work with employs people that will focus on quality patient relations.

  • Experience – Healthcare is a complicated industry. Patients entrust you with extremely delicate and personal information. Beyond just legal exposure, you want to reward that trust by giving the highest level of care at all times. Working with a virtual receptionist service experienced in the healthcare industry can help you maintain that trust with your patients.

Virtual Medical Receptionist through Nexa

Adding a virtual medical receptionist to your practice can optimize your daily operations, improve patient retention, and provide your healthcare professionals like nurses and doctors with more opportunities to connect with patients. 

For a 24/7 live answering service with experience across multiple industries, choose Nexa. Our team of highly trained customer service professionals partners with your practice to provide live text, inbound and outbound calling, and patient intake services. 

And when it comes to the healthcare industry, we’ve been serving medical professionals for the past 30 years to provide excellent patient experiences.

As a medical professional, you need time to provide the level of personal care your patients deserve. That time can be hard to come by when you’re dedicating resources to administrative work that has little to do with your medical expertise. However, Nexa can help. When you partner with our services, you can reclaim your time, streamline your operations, and focus on your patients. 

Connect with our team today.

Sources: 

Nexa. Healthcare. https://www.nexa.com/medical  

Passive Income MD. 6 Easy Steps For Physicians to Hire A Virtual Assistant. https://passiveincomemd.com/6-easy-steps-for-hiring-a-healthcare-virtual-assistant/

Health Catalyst. EHR Integration: Achieving this Digital Health Imperative. https://www.healthcatalyst.com/insights/ehr-integration-digital-health-imperative/ 

Wesley Institue of Training. What Does A Medical Receptionist Do? https://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/ce/online-courses/online-medical-administrative-assistant-training/ 

Software Advice. Medical Practices Must Reduce Patient Wait Times—Here’s How. https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/reducing-patient-wait-times/ 

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