The Direct Care Way

You need a VA

July 11, 2023 Tea Nguyen, DPM
The Direct Care Way
You need a VA
Show Notes Transcript

Whether you're a solo practitioner or have a partner/associate, you can always use the help of a virtual assistant. 

I mentioned Michael Hyatt's book Your World-Class Assistant
Loom for asynchronous meetings
Zoom for real time meetings
Slack for team communication

Dr. T  0:00  
Owners of a direct care practice are more likely to experience higher job satisfaction than the insurance based practice. And it's no wonder why direct care is independent of insurance. Patients pay the doctor directly for their expertise, the doctor gets full autonomy in how they care for patients and how they get paid. They have chosen this path with a love of medicine. This is the direct care way. 

Dr. T  0:24  
By listening to this podcast, you may even start to believe that you too can have a successful direct care practice. Come listen with an open mind as I share my personal journey and how I pivoted from an insurance based practice to direct care right in the middle of the pandemic. And the valuable lessons along the way. This podcast may be the very thing you need to revitalize your medical practice. I'm your host, owner of a direct care podiatry practice Dr. Tea Nguyen.

Dr. T  0:52  
Might wondering, do business owners actually go on vacation and I hope you know that you absolutely do. And you have to the point of direct care is to give you the work life balance you deserve. And you don't need to be going 100 miles per hour all the time. In fact, that is not a productive way to go. It's kind of like trying to use your phone when it's on empty. That doesn't make sense, right, you need to take breaks in charge it up. And then it's ready for the next day, I'm going to talk about using a virtual assistant and how to get one in where I got mine so that you can have some resources right at your fingertips for when you need the help. Now, every business owner, whether you are a solo practitioner, or you have an associate or partner in your micro practice, you would still benefit from a virtual assistant because you should not be doing all of the clerical work, especially if it doesn't bring you joy, you should be focused on being the physician number one, number two making business decisions as the CEO. And then number three with the rest of your time. Please have fun, have fun with what you do. We are building a life that did not exist. And so sometimes we are troubleshooting and trial and error free. But ultimately, you can free up your time for other things rather than the clerical work that somebody else can pick up easily virtually. So what I like about a virtual assistant is that they can work from home, and it's really flexible for them. So they are enjoying that work life flexibility job, and they're getting paid what they want the virtual assistant I have right now, I pay them $6 an hour. And that is what they want. Our dollar goes a lot further in different countries. And so they want job flexibility, they want the US dollar. And I want an economical way to get help in this has been a really great way for me to be more productive with my day and reduce my stress as a business owner. 

Dr. T  2:44  
So how did I find this particular candidate? I've used different programs in the past there is for clinical practice, you can try Hello, rage or inequivalent there are a lot of virtual assistant programs. And a virtual assistant is somebody who works from home. It's not a robot. It's not AI, not yet anyway. But it's somebody a real human being who can do any clerical tasks that you ask them to as long as you train them to. So I found this one on a website called online which are Filipinos who are freelancing for work. And the type of work that you need can vary from web design to Facebook, ad creation, social media maintenance. And for me, I have them answering my phone lines in research, researching certain topics, doing my social media and any administrative tasks. What my virtual assistant has done for me so far was she is now on the schedule to answer the phone Monday through Thursday, I have given her an outline of a presentation I give to the community and she puts it together on a really nice presentation slide using Canva. She has also researched potential referral sources in my community. So I would give her some direction with that she can't read my mind. She doesn't know anything about podiatry until I taught her. But I'll tell her like look up dermatologist within a 10 mile radius of this area. And just make a list and start contacting each individual office to see if they're interested in grabbing coffee or lunch as a meet and greet with me because I want to share my services and I also want to learn about their services. And that's how I create my referral networks. She does a lot of the phone calls in collecting their emails so that we can communicate later on about those arrangements. 

Dr. T  4:36  
Sometimes there's random things to do in the office like I had a doctor tell me she uses her virtual assistant to order some supplies. I haven't done that yet. My VA doesn't do any financial transactions, but hey, your imagination is the limit. So whatever it is that you need that can be done remotely on the phone or on the computer, they can do it for you. My VA uses her own computer and the phone app is through her computer, I'm trying to figure out a way, an easier way to describe this. But it's like calling out of your laptop with Zoom, but it's a different program.

Dr. T  5:09  
So any calls that go into my office because it's a VoIP, or voice over IP address or internet, it goes to her laptop, and she can answer that. And then she can also call out as well. Oh, going back to how I found my virtual assistant going into detail as to how I screen for candidates, when you start posting jobs on let's say, Indeed, or even with this website, I'm sharing with you, you're gonna get a lot of solicitation, people who are just applying to apply, they don't even know much about the position that you posted for. And so it's nice to have a screener on the bottom of your job listing. So my job listing is very straightforward, I list out exactly what I need them to do, like answer the phone, make return phone calls, do some light research, create some social media post, stuff like that. Then at the very bottom, I give them an assignment that is very basic, that shows me their following directions. And it would say something like respond to this job post with the title, I am your next team player. So those who applied but did not follow instructions don't get looked at. And I did get over 100 applicants for this one job post. And so this process made it a little bit easier. And I moved on on to stage two, once they pass the preliminary, I have them do a small task just to assess their ability to use software. 

Dr. T  6:29  
Since I'm going to have my virtual assistant work on presentations, research and my social media, they had to be able to show me that they even knew what this was. So the second task was them to provide a landing page that included this webinar information. So I was assessing their ability to even use what's what a landing page is to show me like a screenshot because that's the terminology that anyone who lives on the internet knows who works in the capacity of social media marketing. And I wanted to be able to just to have a baseline as somebody who has some knowledge of what that is, or has the ability to Google up what that is, it's so easy to Google in what is a landing page to know what that is. So I would give them the information and have them produce the results within 48 hours. And the first person who did that was the person I paid attention to. From there, I created a list of the candidates and invited them to a zoom interview. So I can see them face to face and also understand them to hear them speak because this matters in a private practice or in in your clinic, or do they have a really hard accent, or would it be sufficient for your practice. And so I just needed to hear them and see them to see if it was going to work for the work that I needed to be done. So that was how I screened for potential applicants and ended up with my higher now paying, then you're paying them as an independent contractor. So there are no taxes, at least as I know of as of today. So I'm just paying them what their service rate is. And then they can just deal with the taxes on their own in their own country. I'm using a wire service that goes from my bank account to their bank account. It's legit, it's been working for others. And so that's what made me feel a little bit more confident in using this program, which is called wise W-I-S-E, it's secure. And I did pay her every Friday or Saturday, whatever hours she works, I currently use clock Nephi for her to clock in when she's working. And then I asked her to clock out she has a limit of hours to work. So I make sure to tell her to clock in and clock out on time. There's never really a time to be over time. And we try to keep an open communication as to when certain tasks are due and so that she works within the allotted time.

Dr. T  8:44  
I started my virtual assistant with five to 10 hours a week just to get the flow of things. And then I gradually built up to have her work about 20 hours a week. So what can a virtual assistant do and what don't they do? So you can define this my virtual assistant does anything that requires a computer or a phone, that includes I mentioned earlier, making presentations, creating my social media stuff, content research, connecting with other doctors to do lunch, meet and greets anything what she is not allowed to do is collect any payment or have any financial transactions. I do all of that for my clinic side. She also helps me on my my coaching business here social do the transcript for all of my podcast episodes. So if you ever needed to see the transcript or just wanted to read along with the podcast, that information is there, and that is all done by her. 

Dr. T  9:41  
When I do recommend that once you start working with a virtual assistant, you may not necessarily like the first few ones that you have, especially if you've never worked with one. What I see commonly happen with physicians is that we kind of handoff responsibilities without properly training our new staff whether it's in house or a virtual assistant, So I recommend that you create a manual on frequently asked questions if you're using them for answering your phone, and making sure that you train them exactly how you want them trained. My virtual assistant was very receptive. And I did a couple of trainings with her before I let her be on the phone. And that has been really helpful, anytime she has a question, I asked her to ensure that that question is placed into the manual with the answer that I provide. And then I'll review that protocol periodically to ensure that everything's up to date. I also schedule a synchronous meetings with my virtual assistant, because that's just what works for me a synchronous, meaning I do a recording, and I have her watch it at her convenience, because her time schedule is completely opposite of ours when I'm unable to meet with her face to face by zoom, which is oftentimes, I just have these short little recordings to update her. And it's a program called loom L-O-O-M, where I speak directly into the computer and it records maybe I'm doing a screen share, and I'm showing her something. And then once it's recorded, I just copy the link, and I share that with her. And then she can watch that at her own leisure. So that's how I'm currently doing my office meetings. 

Dr. T  11:14  
Now a lot of the things that I'm sure with you may seem very millennial, a lot of the older generations have taught us different ways to have meetings to conduct interviews and such. What I like about loom is that it saves meeting times, I mean, how often did we have to wait on other people to meet on time to get all of our stuff coordinated, and make sure our Zoom account is up to date, our computers are up to date. So it just was easier for me to do my recording, see what I need to say, send it off to her and she can watch that as soon as she clocks in before the day starts. So that's what I like to do. Some people are using other apps like Slack, some is an app that you can get on your phone to communicate with your team. It's a little bit complicated for me, but it's something that I have kind of handy if I need it. I currently use Google chat if I'm actively in the clinic. And we're communicating back and forth about what's going on with the phone. And then I use Zoom if I have to meet with her in real time, synchronously face to face, which has been kind of rare, since I've implemented loom, which is asynchronous, and it still gives it a feel that we're meeting because it does have a recording of my face as I'm talking, as well as the screen that I'm sharing with her. If I have to walk through certain processes or registration processes, I can show her exactly what I'm talking about. And it's all there for her. 

Dr. T  12:35  
So I've shared a bunch of information with you as to what my virtual assistant does for me. And now it's your turn to focus on being the CEO of your business, and making the most of your virtual assistant. If you find this information useful, and you want to dive deeper. My coaching program, I host this once a month is a call where I talk with all of the doctors and try to help you through whatever process you are in as you're transitioning out of the insurance practice into the direct care model. In the direct care model, I'll say it over and over again. We don't need a whole lot, but we still will always need a little bit of help. And that's what I'm here for. I'm here for you. If you want to dive deeper. I don't remember if I've already mentioned but this book again, your world class assistant by Michael Hyatt. Check it out, see why you need one. Even if you're a solopreneur solo practitioner, you're gonna love having less stress and a lot of your time back. That's all I got for today. I'll check back in with you next week. Take care. 

Dr. T  13:33  
Thank you so much for being here with me. If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, please like, share and subscribe so more people like you can have access to another way of practicing medicine, that direct care way. Let's connect find my info in the show notes and send me your questions. That might be the topic for future episodes. 

Dr. T  13:52  
And lastly, if you remember nothing else, remember this be the energy you want to attract. See you next time.