Working as a VMA allows you to provide medical support and assistance from the comfort of your own home.
Here are five steps you can take to become a Virtual Medical Assistant:
1# Understand the Role of a Virtual Medical Assistant
The first step in becoming a Virtual Medical Assistant is to understand the role and responsibilities.
In this section, we’ll explore the different tasks that a VMA performs and the benefits of working as a virtual med assistant.
Here are some administrative tasks virtual MAs complete regularly:
- Insurance verification.
- Answering calls.
- Follow up on prescription refills.
- Schedule appointments.
- Medical billing and coding.
- Preparing charts.
- Following up on the patient’s condition.
- Obtaining and maintaining medical records.
- Organizing patients’ health information before they see doctors.
- Keeping healthcare professionals informed on patient questions and requests.
The job benefits for virtual assistance are pretty endless. But here are just a few of the benefits we think are great:
- No need to commute to work (save time and money).
- Flexible: depending on your work arrangement you may have more flexibility.
- Highly social: Not what one would usually hear about virtual medical assistant services. But you are in contact with patients, doctors, and providers throughout the day.
- Increased job opportunities: Working as a virtual medical assistant means you can work anywhere. You aren’t confined by the geographical location of the practice.
2# Complete a Medical Assistant Program
Most employers prefer to hire VMA who have completed a medical assistant program.
Technically you don’t need a certification to become a virtual medical assistant. However, you’ll be at a disadvantage as more people become certified to get ahead of the pack.
There are multiple training MA programs available. Most of them are online and allow you to go at your own pace. This is super helpful for those already in a full-time role that want to get certified.
Whichever virtual medical assistance training program you choose, most of them prepare you to take the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam set out by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
This exam certifies that you have the skills to work in an administrative role within a range of healthcare facilities.
Medical assistant programs generally cover the following topics:
- Managing your workspace.
- Medical practice administrative tasks and logistics.
- Billing and revenue cycles.
- Medical law, ethics, and compliance.
- Patient encounters.
- Communication and professionalism.
All medical administrative assistant courses require a high school certificate or equivalent. This is to ensure you meet the requirements to take the CMAA exam.
3# Gain Work Experience
Having work experience is essential to becoming a successful Virtual Medical Assistant.
Internships are a popular option with multiple platforms offering unpaid work experience for those wanting to pursue administrative roles in medical practices. We’d recommend this for those that aren’t looking to be certified to get their foot in the door.
An externship is when a student goes into an office to gain hands-on experience while they’re studying. It allows students to take theoretical knowledge and apply it practically. Many medical administrative assisting programs offer this sort of opportunity.
In terms of finding experience opportunities like this, it’s best to speak with a representative at the training program you’re studying through or look online for opportunities in your area. The great thing about the medical field is that internships are encouraged, no matter your role. That feeling of “we all have to start somewhere” is found throughout the medical field.
4# Develop Your Skills
As a Virtual Medical Assistant, you’ll need a variety of skills to be successful:
- Time management: This is probably the most important part. You are responsible for the timing of the medical practice. This includes appointments, breaks, procedures, and everything in between. The entire facility runs on a schedule and you will likely be in charge of that.
- Organization: You can’t run a tight ship in a mess. You need to be an organized person that can manage your space and time accordingly. Working virtually doesn’t mean you should work in a mess, keep your space clear and clean to remain organized. Wading through a million papers with a patient on the phone isn’t going to cut it.
- Communication: Your entire job as a virtual assistant relates to communication. You should be able to communicate effectively and efficiently, whether it’s via phone, chat, email, or video call. Speak clearly and ensure you have the right equipment, including a good mic, camera, and internet speed.
- Technical skills: You’ll work with various medical software including calendars, billing, and electronic health records. You need at least some computer literacy to learn how the programs work.
- Medical knowledge: While you aren’t accessing the patient directly, having basic medical knowledge is important to understand how to communicate with doctors and patients. For example, if a patient is having a procedure done, you need to know the basics to set aside enough time in the schedule.
5# Find Virtual Medical Assistant Jobs
The final step is to find virtual medical assistant jobs.
VMA jobs are on the rise, with some medical facilities preferring them over in-house positions. Here are a few places to look for work:
- Online job boards (if you’ve done a training program, they will likely have one available for current and previous students).
- Networking: It’s old school, but you’d be surprised how many assisting positions come from friends, family, and coworkers recommending you for a position. So, always be open to meeting others in your field.
- Agencies: There are multiple virtual medical assistant agencies. Have a look at some of thes website and try applying directly.
Becoming a Virtual Medical Assistant is an excellent career choice for those interested in the healthcare industry and working remotely. By following these steps, you can become a VMA and start a rewarding career from the comfort of your own home.
What does a virtual medical assistant do?
Virtual assistants are responsible for all the administrative tasks of a medical practice including scheduling, billing, and patient communication.
What are the benefits of working as a virtual medical assistant?
No commute to work, schedule flexibility, and increased job opportunities.
Where can I find virtual medical assistant jobs?
Have a look at online job boards and ask others that you know in the industry for recommendations.
What technical skills do I need to be a successful virtual medical assistant?
You need basic computer skills to learn how to run the necessary medical software. This will form part of your virtual assistant course.