become a patient representative

What does a Patient Representative do?

A patient representative helps patients get the services they need, understand their health insurance policy, and make more informed care decisions. Those in this position may also be called patient navigators, patient service representatives, or patient advocates. They generally work at the location in which the patient is seeking care.

Watch a video to learn what a patient representative does.

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How to Become a Patient Representative

According to O*NET OnLine, around 60% of the patient representatives surveyed held a bachelor’s degree and less than 10 percent held an associate’s degree. There are also community colleges that offer certification programs that prepare a person to become a patient representative. Employers may find a certification program for medical assistants sufficient for this type of position.

Though you may be able to be trained on-the-job, those with work experience that includes office work in a medical setting would be viewed as more qualified.

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What does a Patient Representative Do

A patient representative works with clients and their families to get the appropriate care necessary at the location in which the representative works. This can also include communicating with other medical or administrative staff as well. They should be good at active listening and customer service. It is extremely vital that they remain calm under pressure as well. Patient representatives are also knowledgable of the community resources available to a patient should additional help be needed. If there are issues that arise, they will also help communicate those issues with the appropriate medical staff to ensure their client is receiving the best care possible.

Patient Representative Career Video Transcript

A patient representative is often the first face patients see when they enter a healthcare facility. Representatives help guide patients through the complex world of healthcare. Patient representatives are responsible for gathering background information from patients and informing them about the health resources available at the facility. They explain healthcare costs and may help patients determine how to pay for charges. Before patients leave, patient representatives help ensure they understand how their treatment will work, for example teaching patients to use equipment at home. They also collect and report data on patient encounters, handle patient inquiries, and train volunteers and staff. Working in healthcare facilities involves daily face-to-face interactions with patients.

Exposure to illnesses and bodily fluids can be a frequent occurrence, so following protocols to minimize health risks is a necessary part of the job. Patient representatives work schedules vary depending on the employer and patient load, from part-time hours to full time-plus. Typically, patient representatives need a bachelor’s degree, though some positions require only an associate’s degree.

Article Resources

National Center for O*NET Development. 43-4051.03. O*NET OnLine.

The video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.