Virtual Medical Assistants & Streamlining Home Care Staffing
Home care practices serve the vital purpose of supporting the recovery and life quality of patients struggling with various conditions, cognitive impairments, debilitating injuries, or age-related limitations. For most medical practices, everything happens within their office location, from the initial appointment scheduling to billing. However, home care practices differ as they go directly to the patient and need staff members who frequently travel to and from the patient’s house.
Medical professionals who provide home care services can include:
- Registered nurses
- Physical and occupational therapists
- Registered dieticians
- Medical social workers
On top of needing staff members who can travel during the week, home care practices also require additional staff to fill job roles that don’t require home visits but are just as necessary.
Other Crucial Job Roles in Home Care Practices
More often than not, home care practices have multiple types of patients, all of whom vary in condition, treatment needs, and care frequency. To ensure practices stay on track, receptionists keep detailed records of patients’ needs and treatment schedules. This role also requires making and taking phone calls and relaying important messages to the doctor and other key people within the practice.
2. Telehealth | Remote Patient Monitoring
Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly important in the home care sector, and their role in patient monitoring is no exception. Virtual assistants are able to review and analyze patient monitoring data, including heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs. They can then send reports to the medical staff who can then use the information to make decisions about the patient’s care. Virtual assistants are also able to flag any potential issues with the patient’s health, which can help to prevent further complications from arising.
3. Telehealth | Scribe
Many home care practices integrate telehealth into patient care because it allows them to perform evaluations and provide education remotely, minimizing their need to travel. During telehealth patient encounters, scribes listen and actively jot down every exchange so the practice can use it as a reference for future purposes. Furthermore, scribes also help maintain maximum accuracy.
Arguably, money is the most critical asset of a home care practice because you need it to fund the infrastructure, equipment, and workforce. For this reason, home care practices need billers to ensure they are getting paid for every service they provide. Aside from payments, billers can cross-check for billing deficiencies, handle and transmit claims, and verify eligibility for insurance coverage.
When it comes to patient health, everything must be accurate because one mistake can lead to a domino effect that will compromise the practice’s credibility and, ultimately, its patients. Coders monitor relevant records to maintain maximum accuracy and nip deficiencies in the bud before they cause any repercussions. Coders also assign and sequence codes for the treatment given.
The Challenges of Home Care Practices
Because home care practices consist of many moving parts, managing one is challenging. A SimiTree survey has revealed that the biggest struggle for most home care practices has to do with staff recruitment and retention. In addition, a 2022 report shows that 90% of nurses have considered switching career paths this year. The common culprit? Burnout. And when a home care practice has more patients than staff members, the tasks will inevitably become even more physically and mentally taxing.
Luckily, implementing technology such as telehealth helps make providing home care easier for everyone involved, therefore lessening the stress that medical workers feel. In the case of home care practices, integrating telehealth makes delivering patient care more efficient. It also allows home care practices to integrate virtual medical assistants into their in-office team members.
What Are Virtual Medical Assistants
When talking about staff members, the work setup that first comes to mind is in-office because it is what most people consider the norm. However, efficient and productive team members aren’t limited to just in-office staff. Virtual medical assistants are an alternative that has seen a recent increase in demand from medical practices across the US.
Just like in-office staff, virtual medical assistants fill various job roles in home care practices and work alongside existing team members, albeit remotely. They come with a solid experience in the medical field, are knowledgeable about various terminologies and processes, and are even HIPAA-compliant. Because of their work setup, virtual medical assistants complement the integration of telehealth and can even help maximize it. However, other things make virtual medical assistants different from in-office staff, aside from their work setup.
How Virtual Medical Assistants Streamline Staffing Challenges
When managing team members, a lot has to be taken into consideration – their training, working space, equipment, government-mandated benefits, and payroll. When opting for virtual medical assistants, home care practices enjoy the benefit of having team members who consider using telehealth as second nature.
Home care practices can often outsource virtual medical assistants from established and reliable companies like My Mountain Mover. Doing so will help make recruitment easier because these companies will perform much of the effort on behalf of the practice – putting up job postings, screening hundreds of resumes, interviewing all applicants, and generating contracts.
In addition, having a virtual medical assistant means that home care practices no longer need to worry about being hands-on regarding staff management. Virtual medical assistants are often assigned an industry manager who will guide them and provide coaching when necessary.
Payroll is also no longer a concern because the outsourcing company does it – all that home care practices need to do is pay a monthly fee to the company, and they will handle the rest. It’s worth noting that having a virtual medical assistant only costs a fraction of the average in-office staff salary in the US.
With the help of virtual medical assistants, home care practices lessen the need to travel to and from the practice while making things more efficient for both home care professionals and patients.
 “2023 Industry Trends Reports” engage.axxess.com
 “Report: 90% of nurses consider leaving the profession in the next year” healthcareitnews.com