By Sanju Zachariah with contributions from FlexMedStaff

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As the medical profession becomes more digitized, there are many more clerical tasks for staff. Rather than physicians and clinical staff spending quality time with their patients, they are forced to do an endless amount of administrative work. This is frustrating not only for patients but for the staff as well. To overcome the burden of clinical and paperwork, physicians have used medical assistants to help combat the amount of work that goes into caring for patients.

Traditional medical assistants generally help in the clinical setting and are integral to any healthcare team. They are responsible for providing quality patient care and helping ensure that the medical practice runs smoothly. The duties of a traditional medical assistant may include but are not limited to preparing the patient room, getting vitals, taking patient histories, drawing blood, completing patient paperwork, dealing with insurance companies, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and much more. Traditional medical assistants are expected to do anything and everything to keep the clinic running efficiently. Having all these roles assigned to one medical assistant can be overwhelming, leading to significant stress for an employee.

It is time we start to look at running our clinics differently. Instead of pushing clinical staff to take on more responsibilities, we should delegate the work better. Have you considered hiring a Virtual Medical Assistant (VMA) to help improve a clinic’s productivity?  To alleviate the volume of work to care for patients in healthcare, think about hiring a VMA.

There is a growing trend of clinics hiring VMAs that offer a wide range of assistance to benefit a clinic’s performance. Adding a VMA to your clinical team can help lessen the stressors on your traditional medical assistants and ancillary staff. This article highlights how a VMA can be implemented into your practice to enhance your productivity.

What is a Virtual Medical Assistant?

Unlike a traditional medical assistant in the clinic, a virtual medical assistant (VMA) works remotely. A VMA may be in the United States or abroad. They may or may not have medical backgrounds, but all should have undergone HIPPA training. Most VMAs are highly skilled and terrific at multitasking. They can take care of a variety of administrative and clerical duties. A VMA can be directly or indirectly involved with patient care. A common theme of most VMAs is that they usually have excellent computer and communication skills. VMAs can be selected based on their experience and training, or you can train them yourself.  

What can a Virtual Medical Assistant do?

  1. Virtual receptionist.
  2. Handle insurance paperwork.
  3. Answer patient clinical questions.
  4. Manage the electronic medical records.
  5. Assist with orders and prescriptions.
  6. Gathering patient information before and after the clinical appointment.
  7. Act as a full-time scheduler.
  8. Assist with data entry.
  9. A VMA can be a personal assistant for things outside your clinical practice.
  10. VMA can behave like Virtual Medical Scribes. (FlexMedStaff has a separate article on this topic)

What are the Advantages of Hiring a Virtual Medical Assistant?

  1. Helps practice save costs on office space.
  2. You can find a VMA that specializes in precisely what you need help with within the clinic.
  3. A VMA is typically cheaper than a traditional medical assistant.
  4. Work with the same VMA so that they get to know your ways.
  5. Since the VMA works from home, they are less likely to call out sick.
  6. Do not have to pay for employee benefits.
  7. There is an endless supply of VMAs, so you can always hire more.
  8. If you work with a VMA company, you will have access to other VMAs if yours is unavailable.


VMAs provide valuable support to physicians and other supporting staff by taking on many clerical tasks that can take up much time. This allows physicians to focus on their patients and provide the best possible care. Take the time to review how a VMA may be able to improve your life and enhance your clinical practice.

***Sanju Zachariah is the President and CEO of Portiva, founded in 2009 to provide physicians with access to high-quality Virtual Medical Assistants and Virtual Medical Scribes. To view more about the services they provide, please see their website at Please send any inquiries to

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