How Can I Become a Patient Service Representative?

Research what it takes to become a patient service representative. Learn about job duties, education requirements, average wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Medical Office Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Patient Service Representative?

Patient service representatives are customer service representatives who work in medical offices and hospitals. They assist patients and their families with paperwork questions and billing issues. They may also offer basic information about the medical facility, such as what services are offered, as well as where the patient might go if they are seeking a different type of care. After a service has been provided, patient service representatives process insurance information and send bills to insurance companies and patients.

The following chart gives you an overview about becoming a patient service representative.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Retail, health administration or other service-related field
Key Responsibilities Act as liaison between patient and health care providers; handle patient concerns about care and treatment; conduct investigation into patient complaints and advise patient of results; refer patient to community resources and services
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10% for all customer service representatives*
Median Salary (2017) $44,666 **

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Does a 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 if you have a background in office work, customer service, medical billing or reception. Salary.com reported as of 2017 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 median salary of patient representatives was $44,666 as of February 2017. The BLS estimated that all customer service representatives would experience a 10% job growth for the period 2014 through 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of becoming a patient service representative, you could get a job as a customer service representative in a different setting, such as a retail store. These professionals answer customer's questions about whether or not the store carries a particular product, as well as where to locate the item within the store. In addition, they accept returns and process refunds. The minimum educational requirement for this job is a high school diploma. Alternatively, if you are interested in health insurance, you could become a claims and policy processing clerk at a health insurance company. In this job, you would process applications, answer customer questions and change or cancel policies when requested. These clerks need to have at least a high school diploma.

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