The way we see our doctors is changing. We no longer need to leave home. According to a recent poll from Jones Lang Lasalle, 38% of patients reported receiving care via telehealth in 2022. This number has decreased since 2020 as the pandemic has declined, but researchers think telehealth will not ever completely go away. Telehealth will be optimal not as a replacement for in-person visits but as a complementary service. Of the patients that have participated in telehealth since July 2021, 76% would prefer to receive care virtually in the future.
Many medical practices face challenges as the location of healthcare treatment changes, and patient expectations become higher. While this flexibility may provide better care for patients, it also has a massive impact on the workday of doctors and any other staff working in a medical practice or office. Working at least part of the time remotely is a viable solution.
What Is a Remote Medical Receptionist?
A remote medical receptionist is like having a traditional receptionist, but instead of working full-time in your office, they work remotely. Remote receptionists can be responsible for most of the duties of a conventional on-site receptionist. Most importantly, they can act as the welcoming representative of your office for patients with telehealth appointments. Let’s look at some of the duties of a typical remote medical receptionist.
The Duties of a Remote Medical Receptionist
- Check-in and check-out patients: The primary task of a remote receptionist is to manage the patient appointment schedule. With telehealth, those tasks can be done remotely, from beginning to end.
- Appointment payment: If payment for an appointment is due, a remote receptionist can handle that via credit card or billing.
- Answering the phones: Remote receptionists can answer your phones during business hours and even after hours if you prefer.
- Making phone calls: Remote receptionists can phone patients to reschedule appointments or deliver test results.
- Managing appointments: Remote receptionists can work with patients after telehealth appointments to schedule a follow-up. They can also schedule appointments from incoming patient calls.
- Refilling patient prescriptions: Remote receptionists can work with pharmacies and patients to refill prescriptions.
- Completing clerical tasks: It’s incredible how many clerical duties can be handled remotely. Remote receptionists can organize online files, manage billing, and maintain schedules.
Good remote receptionists are very aware of the culture and requirements of an office. Their role may demand more interaction with your team at first, so they learn the standard routines of your practice. However, once they are fully onboard, a remote receptionist can deliver an extra level of both skill and professionalism to your patients.
Remote Receptionist versus Virtual Answering Service
Medical practices have taken advantage of answering services for after-hours phone calls for decades. As more office technology was introduced, these businesses have expanded their services to handle many of the tasks of a remote receptionist, both during business hours and after hours. While these services can be customizable to your office, they are expensive and may not replace the benefits of a cheerful and knowledgeable employee interacting with your patients.
The Benefits of Hiring a Remote Medical Receptionist
- More time to spend with patients: One of the main problems medical professionals experience is not being able to spend enough time with their patients. With a remote medical receptionist managing the schedule and office work, you can concentrate more fully on patients.
- Increased levels of customer service: A remote receptionist can help manage patient customer care so that the virtual environment is not as impersonal as it might be. Also, remote receptionists can be closely monitored and their performance regularly evaluated.
- No need for an answering service: As mentioned, answering services are often used when employees are unavailable. Your office will save money and provide better customer service with a remote receptionist.
- More cost-effective: Aside from saving money by not needing an answering service, on-site employees are typically more expensive than remote employees. An on-site medical receptionist in Arizona earns about $30k a year, according to Zippia. That does not include healthcare benefits, sick leave, and vacation days. Nor does it cover your operational costs like rent, office supplies, lights, phones, and lunch breaks. While you still may have to pay for benefits for a remote receptionist, you will save money on operational costs.
- Reduce the office workload: As discussed, a well-trained remote receptionist can support many of your other administrative employees, including your billing department and medical secretaries.
- Competitive in the job market: As the hiring squeeze continues to affect the health care industry, offering remote opportunities can make your practice more desirable for those looking for a job.
The Benefits of Becoming a Remote Medical Receptionist
If you are interested in the health care industry but not sure what road to take, working in a medical office can help you gain experience and narrow your focus. Working remotely often means your schedule and location can be flexible. Some medical receptionist positions do not require medical experience but do require administrative or office experience. Medical experience will make you more marketable to medical offices looking for remote receptionists. There is no data on the average salary for a remote medical receptionist but it is probable the salary would be similar to an on-site medical receptionist.
The Demand for Remote Medical Receptionists
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare support occupations are projected for the fastest employment growth among all occupational groups. In addition, personal care and service occupations are also projected for rapid growth.
Administrative positions like receptionists and billing clerks will become even more automated within the next decade. According to McKinsey Global Institute research, even before the pandemic, 36% of the activities performed by healthcare and social assistance workers had the potential to become more automated. But that also poses some opportunities for employers to use technology to give employees more flexibility. For example, McKinsey says that about 25% of the healthcare sector workforce could work from home at least one day a week.
Today’s medical practices are hiring more remote employees. As a result, remote receptionists are becoming the preferred choice for those medical professionals utilizing telehealth.