As the title suggests, a patient service representative is a member of a health care team employed to help ensure the best interests of a health care provider's clients. The representative interacts with patients directly and helps them with tasks such as setting appointments and collecting insurance information. A person in this position is also relied upon by fellow staff members for tasks such as maintaining patient records and facilitating communication. Acting in this capacity requires a wide range of skills, including computer proficiency, multi-tasking, and the ability to work independently.
The ultimate goal of a patient service representative is to make an individual's interaction with her health care provider as smooth and pleasurable as possible. A person working in this capacity may assist a patient with a variety of needs, such as setting appointments and checking the individual in and out during visits. She may have to deal with billing disputes from either the patient or third parties such as insurance companies, and she is likely to be the recipient of complaints that patients have about the service they receive.
Although some of a patient service representative's duties involve direct interaction with the public, there are other duties that are performed behind the scenes. For example, a person employed in this capacity may have to act as a liaison between different health care providers, such as a doctor and a lab technician or a surgeon and an anesthesiologist. Due to the fact that these individuals have to deal with a wide range of clients and colleagues, sharp communication skills are essential to this job.
Records are an imperative part of medical care. Considering this, the representative is often responsible for several tasks involving patients' medical records. He may have to make sure that the appropriate records are available when needed by other staff members. When new information about a patient becomes available, such as test results or records transferred from other facilities, it may be his responsibility to see to it that they are properly filed or forwarded to the appropriate party.
As a patient service representative may have to complete multiple tasks for numerous patients, individuals seeking these jobs should have excellent multi-tasking skills. Professionalism and customer service skills are very important in these positions. Furthermore, many of the tasks that are required of a patient service representative will be dependent upon strong computer skills.
This is a job that a person may be able to obtain without a higher educational degree. It may, however, be necessary to engage in some form of training program, which may be offered by the employer. A health care–related degree may, however, be beneficial in this position because such knowledge can help an individual communicate with all parties more effectively and provide her with a greater ability to solve problems and address concerns independently.