How to get your virtual assistant to schedule your doctor’s appointments

April 09th, 2008 - 22 Comments

As much as possible, I like to have other people do my work for me. So if you’re trying to find a doctor (a hellish process that I despise and curse), I asked my virtual assistant to find it for me. Use this script if you’re looking for anything similar.

dog-doctor.jpg

Hello,

Please set up these appointments on Monday morning (12/17), when the doctors’ offices open.

Please set up the following medical appointments for me:

1. A dental appointment (annual checkup)
2. An eye checkup (annual checkup)

WHERE TO LOOK

* Please look up doctors on http://www.bluecrossca.com — my doctor must accept my medical insurance (Blue Cross PPO — Lumenos)
* Then cross-reference the doctors’ names on yelp.com to find doctors with positive reviews
* Call the doctors to see which doctors are available for checkups on the below dates
* Please confirm with the doctors that, as a member of Blue Cross Lumenos PPO, I will have 100% exam coverage (dental exam) and a $15 co-pay (vision exam)

WHEN I’M AVAILABLE
* December 17, 18, 19, 21, 27, 28
* 8am – 11am PST and 4pm-7pm PST

LOCATION
* Located near the ZIP code of XXXXX

Thank you,

-Ramit

A few things:

1. Yes, you have to be extremely specific
2. Please don’t say, “In the time it took you to write that, you could have done it yourself!” That’s just dumb
3. For my virtual admin, I use AskSunday.com but you can use anyone you want. Also try Craigslist or eLance
4. I got the idea from the 4-Hour Workweek. Read my review or just buy the book
4. Tim Ferriss wrote an insanely detailed checklist for his VAs

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22 Comments

 

Comments

  1. This seems like a good idea except that: a lot of people are very particular about what doctor they go to already. That being said, Im going to give it a try: anything to further automate the menial tasks so I have more time for everything else.

  2. This sounds like a great idea… if only I wasn’t a control freak!

  3. It seems to me that if you are already using GTD or something similar, you will basically have these steps as individual items listed that YOU do each time you make a doctor’s (or dentist’s or whatever) appt, so that all you need to do is make them a little more specific and send them out.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Marisa, that’s true. But I don’t want to spend 1-2 hours researching this myself, so I outsourced it!

  5. I’ve outsourced any of my several DMV visits – because those are awful. By the way – your link for the 4 hr workweek book review is broken.

  6. I don’t think it’s dumb to say, “you could have done that yourself.” In fact, I think this is the #1 consideration before outsourcing something – will it take more time to write the instructions or do it yourself?

    On the doctor front, I go to the same doctor every time and over the past couple years have built a good relationship with him. I can email him questions and he replies, etc. If you can get to know one doc and stick with him, I think it can be really helpful.

  7. Yep. You hit it on the head. And I love your comment about “coulda done this myself”. Right on!

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO
    Virtual VIP

  8. Ben, if you already have a doctor, this tip wouldn’t make much sense. And clearly, if you can do it faster yourself, you should do it — but a lot of people don’t think through exactly how long a task will take, fully inclusive of everything involved.

    For example, I hear “couldn’t you just do that yourself” a little too often when it comes to VAs. I hear it from people who don’t think through exactly how long a task will take — not being realistic about how long it will take to find all your healthcare information, locate doctors, compare them, cross-reference their locations, call to see if they’re available, check their dates/compare with yours, etc. It’s not as simple as “Just look up a doctor!” I then scoff at these people and turn away in disgust.

  9. Long time reader, first time commenter.

    That is an awesome image.

    -Sean

  10. Sean: The hideous dog in the terrible outfit? heh heh.

  11. While I understand that something as personal as making doctor appointments requires some special instructions, be careful about dictating too much the “how” of what you need – focus more on the “what”. If you are working with a true Virtual Assistant who is an independent professional, one of the key considerations of their independent contractor status is that they choose how to get the work done – when you dictate the “how” you are treating them as an employee which they don’t want (and trust me you don’t either or the IRS could hold you liable for their employment taxes).

    As part of my intake process, I request names and numbers of any service providers I might have a need to contact on behalf of my clients and associated information (such as insurance info). That way when they need an appointment with Dr. Smith, I already have everything I need and it doesn’t take them longer to delegate it than to do it themselves. If it really is taking you too long to delegate tasks, the question may not be “should I do it myself?” but rather “am I working with the right virtual assistant?”

  12. I literally finished reading 4HWW yesterday, and I read chapters 9-11 on Income Autopilot about 3 times. Definitely some good stuff that I’ll implement.

  13. I believe people have gotten Virtual Assistants confused with ‘personal’ assistants. I don’t make doctors’ appointments for any of my clients and I don’t expect they would want me to either. I am happy to do secretarial/admin/webbased services which is what I advertise.

    Don’t get me wrong. I was a Personal Assistant in the Corporate sense for 23 years and worked with some interesting bosses, but not one of them expected me to organise their doctor appointments either. Occasionally I was asked to ring and confirm a time to make sure it was in the boss’s diary but I feel something like this is very personal. I was more likely to be asked to organise flowers for a wife because they’d forgotten an anniversary or birthday when they walked out the door for work that morning.

    I do believe that some have gone over the top with what they think a VA is or isn’t and what they should or shouldn’t be doing.

    Most VAs have a list of services they provide – a small number might provide this kind of ‘personal’ support but I believe the majority wouldn’t.

  14. Ramit,

    I love you brother, but that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

  15. Great post, Ramit. I tried Ask Sunday and had a pretty good experience until they just weren’t cutting it. Read about my Ask Sunday trial here: http://forrestthroughthetrees.blogspot.com/2008/04/hari-today-gone-tomorrow.html

    Although I had mixed results, I’d encourage everyone to give it a try for themselves before making up your mind.

  16. Jon, thanks for the insightful comment!

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  19. The letter encryption box doesn’t work!

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