Patient Representative

Admissions Coordinator, Admitting Clerk, Admitting Representative, Case Manager, Clinical Liaison   More Names
Discharge Planner, Healthcare Registrar, Intake Specialist, Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC), Patient Access Representative, Patient Access Specialist, Patient Account Representative, Patient Advocate, Patient Care Coordinator, Patient Coordinator, Patient Experience Specialist, Patient Financial Representative, Patient Ombudsperson, Patient Partner, Patient Registrar, Patient Registration Representative, Patient Relations Coordinator, Patient Relations Manager, Patient Relations Representative, Patient Relations Representative (PRR), Patient Relations Specialist, Patient Representative, Patient Representatives, Patient Resource Coordinator, Patient Resources and Reimbursement Agent, Patient Service Excellence Specialist, Patient Service Representative, Patient Service Specialist, Patient Services Assistant, Patient Services Coordinator, Patient Services Representative, Registrar, Service Coordinator, Social Services Director, Social Worker, Volunteer Patient Representative

Assist patients in various non-clinical ways to obtain medical and other healthcare services, understand policies, and make choices. Talk to patients and their families in order to answer questions, discuss problems, and outline solutions to healthcare concerns.

Patient representatives perform work tasks that usually are associated with three different levels of non-clinical patient care activities, skills, and responsibilities.

Patient registration representatives help with the patient check-in process at hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, and other healthcare delivery settings. They assist patients in filling-out in-take forms, in collecting insurance information, and in obtaining needed treatment consent signatures.

Patient care coordinators and discharge planners monitor patient hospitalization and/or outpatient services healthcare delivery as well as provide assistance in the coordination of any needed home-based services. They typically help with the needed overall communication among patients, their families, medical staff, administrative staff, or other organizations, such as insurance companies. They may also assist in coordinating follow-up care by other medical facilities, such as with a hospital to hospital transfer. In addition, these patient representatives who work as discharge planners are responsible for ensuring that all patient follow-up planning is complete, and all discharge papers are in order prior, before an individual leaves the hospital, clinic, or other medical care facility.

Patient advocates, patient ombudspersons, and patient relations representatives work to ensure that each patient's rights are respected and that the hospital or other medical services organization uses gathered information to learn from patient experiences in order to improve overall service delivery. They also help to direct patient concerns to the right medical or management staff for follow-up and answers. Some organizations also use these patient representative professionals to investigate high-level billing and related issues. Within hospital settings, this responsibility typically includes oversight of the organization's Grievance Committee.

Most patient representatives work for hospitals, large medical practices, or medical insurance companies, with smaller numbers employed by local, state, or federal government agencies. Their jobs center on communication between patients and their families or representatives and healthcare services personnel and management, including health insurance companies. They provide needed information, answer questions, and help "troubleshoot" problems.

Within a hospital setting, the different levels and kinds of patient representatives often will be located within the administrative offices area. They work as go betweens for patients helping them to coordinate healthcare medical services, payment questions, and other management needs. In doing this, they often collect needed information from patients or their families and share verbal and printed information designed to answer questions. While performing these tasks, they may also help instruct patients on how to use certain home health care equipment.

Patient representatives need to have good customer relations skills and a sincere desire to help people. They need to listen carefully and speak clearly when providing information. They also need to be problem-solvers and be sure that the answers they give to questions are correct. When dealing with an especially difficult or complicated issue, they need to be comfortable telling a patient "I don't know right now, but I will find out for you."

In the course of doing their work, patient representatives generally use the same office technology and equipment as other administrative personnel. This includes telephones, the internet, computer software such as Microsoft Office and Excel or Corel WordPerfect, and printers and scanners.

Patient representatives work closely with other medical office and records administrative personnel, but also with medical care and treatment service staff. For those who work as patient registration representatives, the potential career pathway options can include pursing a medical office pathway, such as by training to become a medical transcriptionist, or a medical service pathway, such as by training to become a medical assistant or registered nurse.

Patient care coordinators and discharge planners may also follow such medical office or medical services routes, but they may also choose to advance to become a patient advocate, patient ombudsperson, or patient relations representative. Persons with a multitude of backgrounds serve in these roles, but needed skills and abilities include exceptional interpersonal skills, mediation abilities, and the patience and tack to work with upset individuals. Among cross-training careers that can contribute to development as a patient advocate are registered nurse, healthcare social worker, and rehabilitation counselor.

It should be noted that salary information for the patient representative career tends to show data for the first of the three levels of this career. As a result, the Society for Health Consumer Advocacy (SHCA) reports that the starting through top level salaries for patient care coordinators and discharge planners, asn especially for patient advocates, patient ombudspersons, and patient relations representatives are significantly higher than for patient registration representatives. More information about the SHCA is available on its website.

Credentials Needed: There is no required state license or registration, nor any particular industry-based certification or other skill competency exam, needed to prepare for or practice in this Career. To give themselves an advantage, however, those seeking employment as an entry-level patient representative may want to consider earning the Customer Service or other management certifications sponsored by the National Retail Federation Foundation Career Center (NRFFCC). The NRFFCC website provides more information on these certification programs at NRFFCC.

Some Key Things to Remember: Patient representatives assist patients to obtain medical and other healthcare services, understand policies, and make choices. They perform work tasks that usually are associated with three different levels of non-clinical patient care activities, skills, and responsibilities, ranging from patient registration representative, to patient care coordinator, to patent advocate.

Patient representatives primarily work for private, for-profit hospitals or other healthcare industry employers or for local, state, or federal government agencies. They need to have good person-to-person communication skills and a sincere desire to help people. Employers will provide training on-the-job, but prefer if an individual has some relevant postsecondary training, including in office skills.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
10% - Average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $25,520 - $41,430    Hourly: $12 - $20
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Bachelor's Degree (High School + 4 or more Years)
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Percent Job Growth:

10% - Average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $25,520 - $41,430

Hourly: $12 - $20