Since most medical professions involve direct patient-provider interaction, healthcare isn’t considered a natural fit for remote work. But as the widening access to the Internet and the proliferation of online collaboration tools enable alternative work patterns, we can observe a growing acceptance of telework, even within medical facilities. Certain telemedicine positions are becoming more commonplace, opening doors to people who may not have been able to work in the health sector in the more traditional, facility-based setting.
Remote Work in Healthcare
Telehealth creates many opportunities for healthcare providers. Research points to increased productivity of remote workers, who don’t waste time on the commute and aren’t distracted by constant office chatter. Telework also provides businesses with operational savings, higher employee retention rates, and easier access to highly-skilled workers. In light of the recent events, it’s also important to mention how working from home helps reduce public health risks.
Let’s check what positions healthcare companies can fill with remote workers today, to boost productivity, cut costs, and protect their staff and patients.
Pharmacists will continue to work onsite, filling prescriptions and dispensing medicines in-person to their patients. Nevertheless, telepharmacy is a developing field, with an increasing number of pharmacy consultants and technicians working remotely and using the phone and online communication channels to advise patients and support supervisors with research and admin work.
Case managers assess and coordinate individual treatment needs. They cooperate closely with medical personnel, patients, and their families to record treatment progress, schedule follow-up visits, and provide counseling. While this occupation requires strong interpersonal skills and may involve home visits, most of the duties, including patient and family interviews, can be performed remotely.
Telephone Triage Nurses
Most nursing occupations demand an onsite presence. However, as the name suggests, phone triage nurses provide patient support remotely. These professionals deliver an after-hours phone back-up, addressing patient questions about treatment or medications, and assessing patient symptoms over the phone to decide whether immediate doctor’s assistance is needed.
The job of a healthcare administrator doesn’t inherently involve direct contact with facility staff or patients. Healthcare admins coordinate various business activities in medical facilities and departments, aiming at improving cost-efficiency and quality of healthcare services. The duties and responsibilities of these professionals are wide-ranging, but they generally concentrate mostly on paperwork. That makes them easier to conduct from home.
Medical Call Answering Agents
Outsourced live call answering services help medical facilities handle excess calls and keep lines free in case of emergencies. These medically-trained customer service professionals are available around the clock, following the established protocols to address basic patient questions and queries and route urgent calls to doctors on duty if necessary. Especially now, when hospitals are struggling with an onslaught of patients and busy phone lines, live answering agents prove essential in enhancing public access to healthcare services.
Health Insurance Agents & Representatives
Insurance representatives can be employed by a medical facility to draw up rules and regulations, analyze and process insurance claims and documentation, and interpret cases. They may also advise patients on available healthcare policies and help them settle cases. While this role involves liaising with patients and healthcare providers, most interviews and negotiations can be held over the phone or the Internet, and a vast majority of the paperwork, including patient records and documentation, can be accessed and processed electronically.
Medical Billers & Coders
Medical billing is concerned with the timely submission of claims to insurance companies and payers. Billers process paperwork from doctors' offices and hospitals, preparing, reviewing, and checking the eligibility of patient bills, claims, contracts, and other pertinent documentation. Coders, on the other hand, are responsible for assigning the right diagnoses and procedure codes to identify services that a patient should receive. Most of the work in these positions is completed via phone or online, and billers and coders often perform their duties 100% remotely.
The task of a medical transcriptionist is to transcribe doctors’ notes and convert them into medical reports for further reference. The job also involves content edition to remove medical jargon, errors, and abbreviations. As in most cases, the text is pre-recorded, and not dictated, writing it down doesn’t require a transcriptionist to be physically present during examination or surgery. This makes transitioning in this role to remote work extremely easy.
Nutritionists and Dietitians
Nutritionists and dietitians organize meal plans to support efficient treatment and help patients achieve a more healthy lifestyle. These professionals work closely with medical facilities and individual patients, promoting healthy eating habits and raising awareness of the critical impact of a diet on patient outcomes. Experts in nutrition also support patients facing specific, food-related conditions, such as eating disorders, allergies, or gastrointestinal issues. Usually, they are fully capable of performing their duties remotely, conducting interviews, and sharing advice over the phone or an online chat.
Medical reviewers audit all medical records for compliance and accuracy and address any issues, inconsistencies, and errors in the documentation. Depending on the scope of duties, they may also be responsible for data entry and transfer of information to online databases. As long as a reviewer has online access to medical resources that need review, there’s no difference whether the work is completed at home or in a medical facility.