Virtual Assisting for Dentists?

Virtual Assistants for Dentists?Ronald F. Arndt, DDS, MBA, MAGD, MCCwww.drarndt.comI know. I know. Most of you are probably asking yourself what is a virtual assistant? Is this another one of Dr. Ron’s “new age” ideas? And for those of you who know you are probably asking how on earth can virtual assistants support a dentist? I am here to tell you.I myself have used a VA for over 9 years. She takes care of the things that I don’t want to take care of. Takes care of things that I don’t have time to take care of. This allows me to focus solely on my clients, their wants and needs and to continue to expand my horizons. Instead of listing what my requirements are for a VA you can obtain this list by contacting me directly. Let’s just be safe and say there isn’t much my VA, Donna, doesn’t do for me. From client contact to newsletters, website maintenance, correspondence, blog integrations, webcasts and video streaming; she does it all! If you would like a complete list of my VA requirements, please feel free to contact me. I would love to share it with you.Let me explain exactly what a virtual assistant is. A virtual assistant is an “off-site” employee who offers administrative and office support services “virtually”; meaning through use of the Internet and email, phone, and fax. Virtual assistants are considered self employed contractors therefore there are no payroll taxes to pay, no vacations or sick time to worry about and no internal conflicts to work around. You are truly getting your money’s worth as a virtual assistant is paid by special project, or retained for a specific number of hours to complete a specific task. (Retainer fees usually offer you some type of financial break) Overall a virtual assistant saves you time and money. And here’s the great news. There are dedicated virtual assistants who have actual experience in a dental office and can provide you with unmatched patient service and personal support.Dental Virtual Assistants (DVA’s) offer a wide range of administrative support and services aimed directly at increasing your production and collections and take a sincere interest in helping you grow your business. Most DVA’s utilize remote access software which allows them to work from your computer as if they were actually sitting right in front of it!A DVA’s position would be to act as a direct extension of you; make your job easier and therefore make your life better. Allow you to go to work with a sense of confidence that someone has everything covered. Allow you to go in and do what you do best…. Your dentistry. Sounds good doesn’t it?DVA’s talents can be used in many areas of your office:• Recall – How is yours looking? Do you have more than 100 patients registered as past due on recall? A DVA can make these important contacts with your patients and get them back in your schedule!• Undone treatment list – How much is sitting in your bucket? Let a DVA help move this to your production schedule. Letters, phone calls and emails to patients. Improving your patient contact on many levels.• Confirmation calls – Are yours done in a timely manner beginning at least 2, but desired 3, days prior to the patient’s appointment? Do you have a short call list to fill in for last minute cancels or no-shows?• Insurance submission and follow-up – If you have anything past 30 days in your reports something needs to change. A DVA can provide daily insurance support to get claims processed and paid promptly.• Collections – A well versed DVA can help collect on past due accounts and save you from having to use a collection agency.• New Patient Packages and Input – Do your new patient packages go out the day the patient scheduled? Do you even have a well designed new patient package? The DVA can input new patient information, obtain and input insurance information prior to patient’s appointment to get the most benefit from first appointment, order previous records, obtain pertinent medical information such as premedication, and send out the new patient packages immediately.• Newsletters and direct mail campaigns – Does your office offer patient education in the form of newsletters? Newsletters are a fantastic, economical way to keep in touch with your patients, and advise them of new techniques and products available in your office. Direct mail campaigns can do the same and new patients can be targeted as well.There are many more ways to utilize a DVA but this gives you a general idea. There are many things to consider for your practice:• What does my payroll look like? It is between the 22-27% industry standard?• Do you really need another full time front desk person, or could you hire a DVA to accomplish the “behind the scenes” tasks in a more efficient, cost saving way?• What does your front desk look like? Are you satisfied with the way your schedule looks on a daily basis? Are you scheduling to goal? How about collections? Recall?• Make a list of what you would like to have a DVA be responsible for that would include expectations and time tables.• Try one on for size! If you are unsure of how this whole process works, yet you are intrigued, try just one task as a sample with the DVA to see how the whole process works. You’ll be glad you did!I personally know a DVA, Mary Beth Bajornas, whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with over the past 7 years. Mary Beth has over 20 years of administrative, office management and dental office experience that she brings to the table. She has devised a technique for “front office alignments” if you will that she calls The Perpetual State of Preparedness. She can actually work with and counsel your front staff “virtually” to streamline protocols, techniques and tasks for maximum efficiency and outcomes. She offers this service along with the above mentioned support. Check out her website at
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