telephone triage assistant

Telephone Triage: Salary & Everything You Should Know

For practice managers or decision-makers, gearing their practice for growth is the top priority. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to make the most out of all the staff they have, such as telephone triage nurse jobs. Reading the job title, one could easily guess what the job is about – taking calls from patients and performing an initial assessment of their medical concerns over the phone. However, practice leaders must look deeper into the role to maximize it.

One of the many things practice leaders need to understand better about telephone triage nurses or assistants is the work setup that defines their type; in-person or virtual. While both types serve the same purpose, each has differences that make one a better fit than the other.

So which is which?

In-person or virtual telephone triage assistants?

As seen from the job title, in-person telephone triage assistants are medical workers who perform their tasks in the exact location of the practice. They have more direct physical engagement with existing staff members and are usually within the vantage point of their supervisors. For these reasons, most people consider an in-person telephone triage assistant the default staffing option, but its virtual equivalent is definitely worth considering.

Virtual telephone triage assistants work remotely, and because of that, integrating them into medical practices can come with a learning curve. However, doing so comes with advantages that far outweigh the disadvantages.

On average, in-office telephone triage assistants make about $75,490 annually [1], meaning practices must pay over $6,000 monthly to maintain their services. Additionally, in-person staff members are legally entitled to employee benefits, such as 401(k), PTO, and health insurance. These additional benefits can quickly increase the cost of in-office telephone triage assistants [2].

On the other hand, virtual telephone triage assistants are economically advantageous, with a monthly salary that is only a fraction compared to in-office telephone triage assistants. They also don’t require employee benefits from the practice because they also work with a virtual assistant company that provides the usual benefits.

Payroll is mostly an unavoidable part of employing someone, and with in-person telephone triage assistants, practice leaders must process the payroll themselves. However, practice leaders can spare themselves from such a tedious and time-consuming task by opting for a virtual talent because the virtual assistant company performs payroll on their behalf, giving them more time to focus on critical responsibilities.

Furthermore, virtual telephone triage assistants typically have an industry manager responsible for overseeing their performance, identifying any weak points, and coaching them to be better for the practice. Their presence allows practice leaders to be more passive in managing their talent, unlike in-person telephone triage assistants who require a hands-on management approach.

Even though they have a dedicated industry manager, virtual telephone triage assistants typically have a high level of independence because they know the challenges of remote work and how to overcome them. Their independent nature motivates their initiative to secure the necessary resources for work, such as a reliable computer, fast internet connection, and a HIPAA-compliant workspace. This independence lets practices save more because they aren’t required to provide these assets.

Consistent with their independence, virtual telephone triage assistants have a knack for being fast learners due to the highly competitive nature of the outsourcing industry. Their ability to quickly learn the ropes give them a distinct advantage over other virtual workers.

To sum it up, integrating a virtual telephone triage assistant into an existing medical team can significantly boost efficiency without requiring a substantial investment of time, money, and effort.

Telephone triage assistant job description

For practice leaders to find the best possible candidate for the job, they need to answer the question – what is a telephone triage nurse or assistant?

People in this role are responsible for assessing patient symptoms and referring them to the provider who can best help them. In most cases, telephone triage assistants also provide appropriate medical advice over the phone, whether it be self-care, scheduling an appointment with a primary care physician, or seeking emergency medical attention. Overall, telephone triage assistants play a crucial role in healthcare delivery by ensuring patients receive the right care at the right time.

Qualities of a good telephone triage assistant

Determining whether a candidate is good for the job can be challenging, but one way to find excellent candidates and weed out bad ones is to know what makes a good telephone triage assistant.

To efficiently fill in a telephone triage assistant position, candidates should preferably have a medical-related degree or certifications so that practices onboard someone knowledgeable about healthcare terms and procedures. Getting someone with medical experience will make the onboarding process more straightforward.

The ideal person for the job should possess several qualities to ensure they can handle the job effectively. First, they should have excellent communication skills like active listening, clarity of speech, and the ability to simplify medical information that patients might need help understanding. In addition, they must also be empathetic and compassionate towards patients because medical findings and treatment options can be sensitive topics. Most importantly, they must be mentally sharp because triaging patient calls requires much quick thinking.

Where to post and find telephone triage assistant jobs

Practice leaders have several options for sourcing individuals to fill telephone triage assistants positions, whether they opt for an in-person or virtual one. These options include:

Online Job Sites

The internet provides medical practices with a vast pool of candidates for their recruitment efforts – they simply need to look in the right places. Online job sites, such as LinkedIn, have become increasingly popular for job postings as the world transitions into digital. LinkedIn is a social media platform focusing on connecting businesses and professionals. What’s great about LinkedIn is that it lets practice leaders search for candidates based on their current position, where they live, whether they want to work on-site or remotely, and other related criteria. Moreover, they can post open positions so interested candidates can submit their cover letters and resumes.

Medical practices seeking to recruit virtual telephone triage assistants specifically may find Fiverr and UpWork to be excellent alternatives to LinkedIn, as both provide a similar service but with a focus on remote workers.

Generally, online job sites offer more recruitment flexibility, allowing practices more control over the hiring process. However, this also means that practice leaders must sort hundreds of job applications, eliminate unsatisfactory candidates, and independently draft legal contracts.

Virtual Assistant Companies

Hiring virtual telephone triage assistants through outsourcing or virtual assistant companies is an advantageous approach for medical practices. Why? These companies offer a comprehensive recruitment process with minimal effort from practice leaders. Virtual assistant companies perform various services, including spearheading candidate interviews, vetting job applications, and matching practices with a virtual talent who has the appropriate qualifications and skills.

Virtual assistant companies typically provide in-house HIPAA certification courses and training to their virtual staff, assuring practices that their new team member is HIPAA compliant. On top of that, practice leaders can be confident that they have a competent and dependable virtual telephone triage assistant when engaging with a virtual assistant company.

My Mountain Mover receives thousands of applications from aspiring medical virtual assistants. However, we implement a rigorous screening process where only the top 2% make it to our pool to ensure you get the best VA for your practice’s needs and preferences.

Want to learn more about how we maintain our high standards of quality and excellence? We would be happy to hop into a 10-minute discovery call with you!


[1] “Telephone Triage Nurse Salary”

[2] “cost-of-employee-benefits”