Patient representatives fill a variety of roles in the health care industry. They work in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospital and other healthcare or mental health facility settings. From administrative tasks, like answering the phones, charting medical records and scheduling appointments to arranging visits with other agencies, listening to patients and managing health care data, Patient Representatives fill a vital role in the health care field.
Patient Representatives are trained in the most up to date office management and customer service techniques. They are responsible for a variety of services depending on their employer and the setting in which they work. Patient representatives are responsible for the following:
· Patient representatives are customer service specialists. Not only answer phones and schedule appointments for the patients, but they are trained to listen intently and offer assistance when needed.
· Patient representatives are also required to update medical records and keep abreast of changes in patients’ records and conditions. They ensure that records and patient charts are logged accordingly following physicians instructions about specifics. More often than not, these orders are precise and need to be documented verbatim.
· Other Patient Representatives work in billing insurance companies and keeping in contact with patients when procedures are approved or denied by insurance companies. This in itself is an important role for a Patient Representative.
· One of the most important job functions of a Patient Representative is to follow the law that relates to confidentiality. It is very important for a Patient Representative to be aware of who can and cannot access records or data for a patient. At times, this can be difficult and uncomfortable, but someone trained as a Patient Representative is aware of the law and works to adhere to it.
Most full-time Patient Representatives about 40 hours a week in a hospital or private setting. Hospital-based Patient Representatives may work under a variety of job titles while working various hours and shifts throughout the week. Although most work in a healthcare facility there are some that work in private offices or work for outside billing agencies.
More and more hospitals and private offices are contracting these employees and they are well paid for this task. The job itself also requires the individual to be sitting for many hours at a time.
Education and Training
Patient Representatives have anything from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most Patient representatives have specialized training resulting in certification through a vocational or business school. On the job training is an essential part of being a Patient Representative. This on the job training most often centers on the job that is being assigned and prepares the employee for the position. Additionally, most Patient Representatives have accounting, bookkeeping and customer service training classes that focus on working with patient accounts and building positive customer relationships with those patients.
Licensing and Credentialing
Most often specific licensing is not a requirement for being a Patient Representative. However, certain employers may require certain skills and educational training.
Representatives will find that there are numerous job opportunities for those
trained in this field.
Statistics show that the majority of those in this field are employed health care facilities such as hospitals and clinics.
More and more Patient Representatives are increasing their skills and moving within their facilities to advanced positions. For the most part, advancement is possible, but may be limited to supervisory or management positions.
Customer Service Representatives, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
Medical Records and Health Care Technicians, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.