Dr. Audra Ward, a periodontist who runs her own practice, is in charge of a team of nine people who together use the latest dental technology and techniques to deliver superior results and exceptional care throughout the entire treatment process.
Ward Periodontics is dedicated to improving oral health by utilizing innovative procedures, technology and techniques to meet all of their patients' periodontal wants. This practice offers expert treatment in a comfortable environment.
“I had personally wanted a virtual assistant for myself, but I knew I couldn’t keep that person busy full time virtually,” Audra discloses. “My sister-in-law was using BELAY and [encouraged me] to give [BELAY] a call and see what I thought.”
Audra and her practice administrator, Emily Arnold, were looking to hire someone to help in their business who was vetted, intelligent and responsive – and admittedly had trouble finding the perfect candidate.
With the possibility of contracting with BELAY, they concluded they would want someone who could take on a blend of the roles of a business administrator and personal assistant to both Audra and Emily.
Enter BELAY VA Sierra Safak.
“When we first started with Sierra, we were really just looking at one-off type projects,” Emily explains. “We wanted to get our signage out on our building, so she picked that [project] up.
“As we went, we started finding value-adds for Sierra where she could actually be part of our team, and not just be doing one-off projects, but actually be functioning as a member of our practice.”
Sierra has been able to take over some patient-facing communication and step in to fill the gap when other employees are out of the office.
“She is definitely a member of our team,” Audra adds. “People actually call [the office] asking for her.
“She does all of our follow-up, she does a lot of insurance breakdown, she’s not getting bogged down with patients in the office. She’s ridiculously efficient anyway but her level of efficiency is unmatched.
“She accomplishes in 40 hours sometimes what a full-time person cannot.”
Emily and Audra both utilize Sierra for personal tasks such as vacation planning and email management, but having her in their business has opened up more space for them to live their lives outside of the 9 to 5.
“What frees us up personally is her ability to drive parts of the business that we can delegate to her with a level of comfort that doesn’t exist with other people,” Audra says.
“The best thing that she does for both of us personally is take things off of our shoulders in the business that would keep us here longer hours if we didn’t have her here willing to step in and help."
“She’s never expressed any level of uncomfortableness with anything we’ve given to her,” Audra says. “She was a perfect fit for us. She’s been able to tackle any project with zest and ease.”
The partnership that Emily and Audra have with Sierra has been able to grow and evolve in the short year they have been working together.
“[At first] she was just doing little, random projects that we weren’t worried about,” Audra says.
“[Now] she helps us check insurance eligibility, scheduling, and following up on our patients who have a treatment plan that has not been scheduled yet,” Emily adds. “She takes on the tasks that, when the rest of us are busy, aren’t able to get done. She does it with grace and no amount of pushback.”
Sierra works closely with Emily on most days, but there are four members of the team that she regularly communicates with and assists. She is actively identifying how she can best use her allotted hours.
“It’s better for me to be in the room with patients, treating patients,” Audra says. “That’s my best utilization. Emily has a different utilization.
“Whenever we get bogged down with those miscellaneous problems that just constantly pop up, we can’t be happy and fulfilled with what we do. She has really helped us out and made it easier.”
“Those little problems that eat you alive have really gone away,” Audra says. “She doesn’t say, ‘Hey, here’s a problem for you.’ She says, ‘Hey, I see this problem but I’m taking care of it.’”