The Pros and Cons of Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are an amazing resource for group practice owners.

This is true at any stage of growth, but especially for small to medium sized group practices.

I’ve been using virtual assistants since 2012, starting while I had a solo practice and continuing through my transition to group practice. I had the good fortune to work with the same VA for 5 years, until I started Productive Therapist.

A virtual assistant (VA) is a highly-skilled professional who provides administrative and other support services to businesses remotely.

Virtual assistants can provide a wide range of services, including administrative tasks like email management, scheduling appointments, and data entry, as well as specialized tasks like social media management, content creation, and website design.

Mental health group practices tend to use virtual assistants to handle marketing, intake coordination, billing and other back office admin tasks.

Here are a few of the benefits of working with a virtual assistant company, like Productive Therapist.

1. Increased productivity

Virtual assistants can handle administrative tasks, freeing up your time to focus on high-level, strategic work. You also save a ton of time on the recruiting and hiring side.

2. Reduced costs

Hiring a virtual assistant is often more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee, because virtual assistants are usually hired on a project or hourly basis. While the hourly rate is higher, they usually track their time by the minute, so you don’t pay for any “unproductive” time.

3. Flexibility

Virtual assistants can work from anywhere, which means you can access their services regardless of where you are located. You also don’t need to provide a VA with an office in your counseling space.

4. Improved work-life balance

Virtual assistants can take on all kinds of tasks, reducing your workload and allowing you to better manage your time. It’s a huge relief to not have to handle your incoming referrals, sort out billing issues, and all the other little admin tasks that pile up so quickly.

5. Access to expertise

Virtual assistant companies often have a pool of talent to draw from, allowing you to find the right virtual assistant with the skills and experience you need. It’s especially beneficial for group practices to have access to virtual assistants with specialized mental health training.

6. Scalability

Virtual assistant companies can scale their services up or down to meet your changing business needs, making it easy to add or remove support as needed. It can be challenging to scale your admin team as you grow. Working with a virtual assistant company is a nice shortcut.

7. Enhanced security

Virtual assistant companies usually have strict security measures in place to protect sensitive information and data. Mental health-focused virtual assistant companies will provide a business associate agreement and also train their staff on HIPAA, digital security, and privacy.

All of this adds up to time and money savings for you. Win-win.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

There are a few potential downsides to consider.

1. Communication challenges

Since virtual assistants work remotely, it can sometimes be more difficult to communicate effectively, especially if there are time zone differences or other barriers to real-time communication. This can be an adjustment if you’ve never worked with a remote team member.

Lack of in-person interaction: Some people prefer to work with individuals in a face-to-face setting, and might miss the personal interaction that comes with working in a traditional office environment. There are things that my in-office admin assistant was able to help me with that I sometimes miss.

2. Quality control

Since virtual assistants are typically working from a remote location, it can be more difficult to monitor their work and make sure it meets your quality standards.

3. Trust and security

When working with a virtual assistant, there is a certain level of trust that is needed, especially with the sensitive and confidential information of your clients. It’s important to thoroughly vet virtual assistant companies and their employees before entrusting them with sensitive information.

4. Technical difficulties

Virtual assistants rely on technology to do their work, and any technical difficulties, such as internet outages or software problems, can affect their ability to complete tasks on time. This could also be a challenge for in-office staff.

5. Potential language barriers

It is extremely affordable to use international virtual assistants, but communication can become a challenge. Even with English-speaking VAs, there may be difficulties in understanding instructions or providing accurate information.

Most of these concerns can be addressed easily, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and to carefully choose a virtual assistant company or individual virtual assistant who will meet your specific needs.

Productive Points: 

  • Working with virtual assistants is an amazing way to grow a group practice.
  • It’s important to weigh the benefits and downsides of working with virtual assistants.
  • Working with a mental health-focused VA company is an ideal place to start.

Reach out today if you have questions about working with a Productive Therapist virtual assistant!


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