A turnkey solution to addressing the staffing shortage: virtual assistants – DVM 360

© 2022 MJH Life Sciences and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.

© 2022 MJH Life Sciences and dvm360 | Veterinary News, Veterinarian Insights, Medicine, Pet Care. All rights reserved.

Delegate busy work and spend more time on what matters most
The veterinary profession faces a staffing shortage. Veterinarians and technicians are busier than ever, feeling overworked and experiencing a burnout epidemic.1 According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), nearly 26% of veterinarians in 2021 expressed the desire to work fewer hours. AVMA surveys indicate that 44% of veterinarians have considered leaving the profession, with stress, anxiety, and work-life balance commonly cited as reasons.2
In short, veterinary professionals are feeling the pressure with little relief on the horizon. Enter virtual assistants from SaiberVet—an easy way to bolster clinic staff and save money. Here’s what a virtual assistant can offer veterinary practices and how it works.
Hiring a virtual veterinary assistant means simply outsourcing the clinic’s typical assistant tasks to a remote administrative professional. Using the internet, the virtual assistant can answer calls, file paperwork, schedule appointments, and handle other tasks of an in-person assistant. They can also be in the exam room virtually, handling tasks such as taking notes and creating treatment plans while the doctor completes their physical exam and discusses patient care with the client.
This means the veterinarian can spend more time focusing on high-quality care for the patient while being present and attentive to the client. The virtual veterinary assistant fills the gap of a physically present assistant, retaining the flexibility of an on-demand service at a cost lower than an in-clinic hire.
The staffing needs of veterinary hospitals may prove unique to the situation of each clinic and its clientele. The best staffing solution for an individual hospital may involve any combination of full-time, part-time, or virtual assistants. Here’s what virtual assistants bring to the equation when assessing how they may fit into a clinic’s hiring plan:
A virtual assistant can take on the majority of tedious administrative tasks for a clinic in its day-to-day operations. Dealing with reminder and confirmation calls can be another time consumer for busy clinicians. However, virtual assistants can contact clients directly to set up and confirm appointments as well as updating patient and client information, answering client emails, completing prescription refill requests and many other customer service related tasks.
Time is money, and time spent taking notes is time spent not seeing patients. A representative from SaiberVet said their doctors are reporting that they see an average of 4 to 5 more patients per day, thanks to outsourcing this task. As an added bonus, delegating administrative tasks to a remote virtual assistant can help clinicians and staff to finish work on time, relieving pressure and maintaining work-life balance. When staff can avoid staying late and the stress of a massive crunch at the end of the day, everybody wins.
A virtual assistant directly affects the bottom line in 3 simple ways: more office space, lower hiring costs, and lower labor expenditures. With a remote worker, the space gains are self-explanatory. This allows the clinic more room to focus on medical or client-facing features.
Hiring a virtual assistant with SaiberVet is as simple as signing up for an online service. One need not waste time or money on job boards, advertising, and vetting candidates; the virtual assistant service has already selected the best candidates for the position. Additionally, the practice will save money on labor-related costs such as equipment, taxes, health benefits, office supplies, and more. Virtual assistants generally cost no more than $10 an hour, without health insurance, PTO, taxes, and all of the other hidden costs that come with hiring an in-person employee. In contrast the average wage of a veterinary assistant or client service representative can be up to $17-$18 per hour. A virtual assistant would be a 41% reduction in wages compared to an in-person assistant, before even calculating all of the other costs of employment mentioned above.
Every veterinary practice has its own unique culture, and proper fit is important. That’s why practices are not assigned a virtual assistant, but rather may interview candidates until they find the right match. Practices don’t have to settle for “just anyone” to alleviate their staffing shortages. Instead, they can choose the candidate that will be the best addition to their business.
Continuity and predictability is vital for any business. That’s why virtual assistant services allow the practice to work with the same medically trained professional every day, ensuring a solid working relationship and rapport between all parties. Once a practice finds the right person to add to their staff, they can enjoy the benefits of a virtual assistant long-term, without worrying about going through the hiring and interviewing process again. A representative from SaiberVet said a veterinary hospital subscribing to their service may work with the same assistant for as long as 7 years.
SaiberVet offers concierge customer service throughout the entire hiring process. Customers are assigned an account manager that will walk them through the entire process from start to finish. Hiring new team members can be very time consuming; placing job advertisements, calling people to schedule interviews, training new hires, and dealing with time management issues can eat up time in the schedule that busy practice owners just don’t have. With concierge customer service, the hiring process becomes quicker and easier.
Every clinic has different challenges. Virtual assistants may be a solution to a number of staffing and workload issues many hospitals face. They offer flexibility, cost savings, and freedom for overworked clinicians to perform the essential functions of veterinary medicine. When feeling overwhelmed by caseload and paperwork, clinicians should know that cost-effective, on-demand help is available at any time. Delegate the paperwork and focus on what matters most: patient care.
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