A patient coordinator is a central contact point between patients and doctors, nurses and health professionals at hospitals, clinics, and other health care centers. If this health support profession interests you, this page highlights some essential points you need to know about the job and how to make a competitive resume to get to the interview stage.
Let’s begin by looking at three examples of well-crafted patient coordinator resumes.
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Job Duties of a Patient Coordinator
A patient coordinator works at a hospital or other health care facilities and is responsible for several duties related to patient care. Here are some common job duties:
Assisting doctors and other health care professionals to educate patients and family members about health issues and treatment procedures.
Consulting with professionals to schedule patient appointments and health care plans.
Developing health care plans for patients per their specific care needs.
Collaborating with health care teams to formulate and assess interventions for patients.
Ensuring all health care laws and regulations like the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) are followed at the hospital or health care facility.
Addressing patient concerns quickly.
Collecting insurance information, completing the billing process and collecting payments.
Ensuring records of patients are kept private and confidential.
Discussing insurance coverage, treatment costs and payment options.
Staying up-to-date on new developments in health care.
Patient Coordinator Median Salaries
As per PayScale, the median salary of patient coordinators is $48,469 annually as of August 2021. Entry-level patient coordinators can earn around $15.36 per hour, including overtime, tips, and bonuses, while professionals with more than 20 years of experience can earn more than $18.59 per hour.
Top Skills for Patient Coordinators
Like every job in the medical field, patient coordinators need to have a combination of hard and soft skills. While good listening skills, compassion and empathy are essential, there are some crucial hard skills that every patient coordinator should possess. These are the top six skills for patient coordinators:
- Patient care: Patient care includes everything from diagnosing a patient to complete recovery. While patient coordinators do not diagnose or treat a patient, they are part of a team in charge of providing effective care. These non-medical professionals have to coordinate every aspect of care provision by communicating with the doctors and other medical staff, performing tasks such as taking vital signs and assisting with procedures, administering medication, arranging diagnostic procedures, and other related tasks.
- Customer service: Patient coordinators have to play the role of customer service executives in a health care setting. They take on the role of problem-solvers when they interact with patients to ensure that all their queries or doubts are cleared, and attempt to eliminate factors that represent obstacles to providing quality care and carrying out treatment plans.
- Administrative skills: As a patient coordinator, you can expect to perform daily administrative tasks that keep operations running smoothly. These tasks can range from answering phones and scanning documents to scheduling patient visits and billing according to the patient’s medical insurance. Some roles also require you to keep the front office clutter-free and organized. Regardless of the types of tasks that you perform, the main objective is to make sure the patient’s visit is smooth and the necessary paperwork is accounted for.
- Electronic records management: The emergence of electronic medical records management has made life easier for doctors, patients, and administrative staff. Accessing patient information is now faster and makes it possible to provide immediate patient care. As such, it’s no surprise many employers require candidates to know how to manage electronic health records. As a patient coordinator, completing an Electronics Health Records certificate program is highly encouraged.
- Patient education: As a patient coordinator, you educate the patients and their family members about their condition or illness. As a part of patient education, you teach them and their caregivers different aspects of care like medication, treatment regimens, dietary restrictions and lifestyle changes that need to be implemented. Effective patient education helps in preventing complications and enhancing their overall well-being and quality of life.
- HIPAA Compliance: Patient coordinators have to know about and comply with HIPPA regulations. HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a federal law that protects patients’ sensitive information like their medical information and health care records. As a patient coordinator, it is your responsibility to ensure all HIPAA regulations are followed while recording, maintaining, and managing patient details and documents. Knowing and following them is crucial to protect your organization from HIPAA violation laws.
Educational Requirements for Patient Coordinators
DegreeThe education qualifications expected from a patient coordinator depend on the employer’s requirements. While some require the individual to have a bachelor’s degree, others may only need a high school diploma. However, having a bachelor’s degree in health care management would enhance your chances of getting the job. Having a master’s degree is beneficial if you seek career advancement in the field. Some employers or hospitals need the patient coordinators to have a nursing degree or nursing license. A nursing program will teach you about anatomy, nutrition, chemistry, data management, ethics, and all of the skills needed to handle direct patient treatment planning.
LicensingPatient coordinators are medical or health services managers who may have to pass a national licensing exam. Some health care facilities may require RN patient coordinators or care coordinators to hold a nursing license by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to provide proper medical support and knowledge to patients and their families.
CertificationsAlthough certifications are not mandatory to become a patient coordinator, they can boost your resume and career prospects. Moreover, many employers prefer candidates who have obtained at least a basic certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) or CPR. Some other certifications that employers look for in candidates are the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and ones offered by the National Healthcareer Association. Care coordinator training programs by Futuro Health, Lehman College and the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) are also beneficial to give you the proper knowledge and skills to perform the job and specialize in areas such as behavioral health, working with chronic illness and more. In general, these programs prepare you to work with patient care administrative aspects such as medical coding, office procedures, finance, transcriptions and management.
Patient Coordinator Resume-Writing Tips
A well-written resume is indispensable to attract the attention of a potential employer. Here are some tips to help you craft an effective patient coordinator resume.
- Focus on skills: Whether you are looking for an entry-level position or an experienced one, emphasizing your professional skills is essential. Depending on your experience level, you should add between six to eight skills either below or above your work history, or as the centerpiece. To learn more about where to place your skills, take a look at the different types of resume formats and their use. Detail how you’ve applied your best skills to your previous job duties in the professional summary. Also, maintain a balance between soft and hard skills. Some suggested combinations of soft and hard skills include: “medical filing,” “electronic records management,” “interpersonal communication,” “active listening,” “claims processing” and “patient care.” Make sure to include and focus on keywords from the job posting. This will ensure your resume goes through the applicant tracking system (ATS) and is read by a recruiter.
- Mention certifications and achievements: Certifications and achievements related to your job help make your resume stand out. Because certifications aren’t always mandatory to get a patient coordinator job, not everyone applying for the role may be certified. Thus, including any relevant certifications, you may have can help you stand out. Even if you don’t have certifications, mentioning your achievements in previous roles using quantifiable metrics is a sure way to be noticed. For example, using “billed medicare for case management and immunizations and increased the revenue by 15%” rather than just “billed medicare for case management and immunizations to help increase revenue” is more effective.
- Choose an attractive design: When it comes to resumes, attractive is synonymous with simple. Do not opt for a resume template or design with an unusual layout, graphics, or decorative fonts. Keep the design clean and straightforward. It should look professional, so consider opting for a simple resume design or template that is neat and uses a professional-looking font. Make sure the content is concise and the resume is not more than one page long.
Can patient coordinators diagnose a patient?
No, even though patient coordinators may have working medical knowledge about diseases, they do not have the authority to diagnose a patient. They can only help patients manage their illnesses by developing dietary plans and suggesting lifestyle changes.
Can patient coordinators prescribe medications?
Patient coordinators cannot prescribe medications to patients. However, they can process prescription requests to be reviewed by the doctors. Patient coordinator’s role extends to assisting the patients in taking their medications on time.
What is the work environment of patient coordinators?
Patient coordinators work in hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, outpatient care centers and physician’s offices. They typically work 40 hours a day. Depending on the organization, you may have to work weekends and take up night or evening shifts.