How Can I Become a Patient Service Representative?

Patient service representatives work in medical offices and assist patients and their families with paperwork questions and billing issues. Find out the job duties and outlook for this career. Schools offering Medical Office Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Patient Service Representative Do?

A patient representative welcomes a patient into a health care setting, explains what he or she can expect from the physician's office or hospital visit and helps the patient complete any necessary paperwork, such as for insurance or billing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals collect patient information, verify its accuracy and then direct visitors to the appropriate department for treatment or tests. In this role, you may work with accounting and billing departments to help patients who are having difficulty paying their medical bill by offering payment options. However, in a smaller doctor's office you may process all paperwork on your own.

What Skills and Training Do I Need?

As a patient representative, you should work well with others and have a calming bedside manner. You should have knowledge of basic medical office procedures and medical terminology. You need to be proficient in medical reimbursement billing and bookkeeping if your duties include handling a medical office's finances. You also need to be tactful, discreet and trustworthy since you have access to confidential health information.

While most patient representatives are trained on the job, you may find better job prospects of you have a background in office work, customer service, medical billing or reception. Salary.com reported as of 2012 that many workers in this field encounter employers seeking candidates with a relevant bachelor's degree.

Patient representatives usually work in clean, well-lit environments in hospitals or physicians' offices. They usually work normal hours, but they may need to work evenings or weekends.

What's My Salary Potential and Job Outlook?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of most patient representatives was $42,529 as of 2012. The BLS estimated that all customer service representatives would experience 18% job growth for the period from 2008 through 2018. Those working in health care and social assistance would see a much higher growth rate at nearly 32% in the same period.

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