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What Is a Patient Service Coordinator?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated May 17, 2024
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A patient service coordinator serves as the link between patients and health care providers. He may work for a hospital, clinic or medical testing facility. If a patient has any questions, concerns or comments regarding personal care or the care being provided to a family member, the patient service coordinator is the first point of contact. His primary concern typically is the patients’ satisfaction with the services received.

The job of the coordinator normally involves heavy communications. These interactions can take place on the telephone, through letters and e-mails, and in person. He is commonly expected to be an excellent listener as well as a great problem solver. Knowing where to find answers in the shortest amount of time is commonly required for success in this position. The ability to accurately assess when an issue needs input from other departments or supervisors is also generally considered an asset for a patient service coordinator.

In addition to resolving patient concerns, this position customarily requires good organizational skills. The coordinator is regularly required to synchronize resources, equipment and personnel to facilitate case flows. This generally requires a clear understanding of policies and procedures to effectively spot challenges and resolve them.

A good rapport with physicians, nurses and administrative personnel is typically considered a requirement to be successful in this position. Once the coordinator understands the patient inquiry, he focuses on the most efficient way to find the answer. Understanding who knows what in his organization enables the service coordinator to successfully serve the most patients in the least amount of time.

Besides being resourceful and organized, a patient service coordinator will be most successful if he is positive and energetic. Patients are often anxious, fearful or skeptical of procedures or medical professionals. A coordinator who can make patients feel safe and supported usually contributes to the peace of mind of staff and family members.

In some settings, a patient service coordinator may also be required to monitor equipment functions and assure the proper inventory levels of non-medical supplies are maintained. These professionals often are also assigned to prepare reports on patient communications that include suggested improvements or changes to protocols.

Although no specific formal educational background is required for this position, a high school diploma or equivalent is normally expected. A minimum of three years work experience in a medical services environment is highly preferred. Background in computer operations also is desirable, as is demonstrated excellence in interpersonal communications.

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Discussion Comments
By miriam98 — On Aug 18, 2011

@SkyWhisperer - I can relate to the part of the article that talks about patients being skeptical of procedures.

I think the problem is that we live in an information age, and by the time we get to the hospital many of us know almost as much about our condition as the doctor does (or at least we think we do).

I remember mentioning some research to my doctor when I saw him last time, and he snidely asked me if it was something that I had read on the Internet.

In fact it was, which is not a problem in and of itself in my opinion. There’s a lot of stuff on the Internet, good, bad and ugly. You just have to sift through it to separate the wheat from the chaff.

But whatever you do, don’t argue with your doctor or your patient services coordinator. If you really don’t think that you should have a treatment done, get a second opinion.

By SkyWhisperer — On Aug 17, 2011

@nony - Yeah, I don’t think wrangling with insurance companies is part of the nursing job descriptions. It’s just something they get thrown into from time to time because it is part of patient care.

The doctor has other assistants who are paid staff and whose job it is to make sure the insurance company authorizes the doctor’s prescriptions to be filled.

In a situation like that you probably could have gotten the services of an outside patient services coordinator, or even contacted the insurance company’s customer services representative to see if they could throw some weight around.

However, if it’s an issue with established policy regarding how much coverage they will authorize for medication, I don’t know if there is much they can do in that situation.

By nony — On Aug 16, 2011

I wish I had a patient service coordinator at my disposal when I went head to head with the insurance company recently. They proved to be more difficult to deal with than my old insurance company.

At issue was some medication I was taking. The doctor prescribed a certain amount, but the new company said they couldn’t cover that much medicine. They would only authorize a lesser amount of coverage for a fewer number of days.

When we called they said just fax the doctor’s authorization, and they would allow coverage for the full dosage.

We faxed many times over – even the nurse faxed many times. I guess for all intents and purposes she functioned as our patient service coordinator, although I didn’t really think that constantly arguing with the insurance company was part of the registered nurse job duties description.

After a long, protracted struggle we finally got the coverage we asked for.

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