Patient Coordinator

Patient Coordinator

What is a Patient Coordinator?

A patient coordinator is responsible for ensuring that patients understand procedures, the use of home health care aids, and terminology. They are often the intermediary between the patient and the health care providers. The patient coordinator is responsible for maintaining a patient’s information and must be proficient with today’s technology. They can help to determine patient policies and may even write marketing information. Their goal is excellence in patient care.

Job Responsibilities of a Patient Coordinator

These duties will vary by employer, but in general, a patient coordinator may: 

  • Maintain patient information like medical histories, test results, examination results and symptoms 
  • Clarify terminology, medical procedures, conditions, medications or instructions to patients as needed 
  • Explain treatment options provided by physician 
  • Research patient’s questions 
  • Give instruction in the use of home health care aids 
  • Gather and analyze data 
  • Prepare data for additional research 
  • Develop flyers and newsletters for patient communication 
  • Coordinate patient care programs 
  • Handle patient case management 
  • Coordinate patient care 

Career Outlook for Patient Coordinators

While it does not speak directly to the career of patient coordinators, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that a similar career, medical records and health information technician employment is projected to grow 8 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.  

About 15,000 openings for medical records specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.  

An increasing share of the population is entering older age groups, which typically require more medical services. In addition, there is a growing prevalence of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. As a result, more medical records specialists will be needed to translate patient information and services delivered into standardized codes to be used for insurance reimbursement and other purposes. 

This career generally requires at least an associate degree for entry-level positions. A health services administration associate degree from Bryant & Stratton College is just the type of degree employers are looking for.

What can I do with a Health Services Administration Associate Degree?

A health services administration associate degree from Bryant & Stratton College will prepare you for your career as a patient coordinator. You will learn not only about healthcare, but also basic business management skills. Both will be necessary as a patient coordinator. 

Having completed this associate degree program, you will be able to work effectively in administrative and managerial roles within clinical settings. You will understand the relationship between health and human services organizations and you will have gained the knowledge to succeed in each. You will be able to apply analytical and behavioral tools in administration settings. You will demonstrate ethical and legal communication techniques that are specific to the health and human services arena. And, most importantly, you will be able to operate as a member of a team in support of the goals and objectives of an integrated healthcare system. 

This degree will lay the foundation for your career as a patient coordinator. With the knowledge you will gain here, as well as your own good communication and people skills, you will be well on your way to meeting your career goals.

Additional Training/Requirements

In addition to your associate degree, it may also be helpful to take courses in anatomy and physiology. Some employers will require prior work experience showing supervisory skills as well as a healthcare background. Some require management experience in patient care. 

For those wishing to advance in their careers, there are several options available. You could obtain a bachelor’s degree, in Health Services Administration, to make yourself more marketable to employers. You could obtain various certifications in information specialties, such as medical coding or cancer registrars.

Employment Settings

According to the BLS, the largest employers of medical records specialists are as follows: hospitals; state, local, and private, offices of physicians, professional, scientific, and technical services, management of companies and enterprises, and administrative and support services. Most medical records specialists work full time. In healthcare facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, specialists may work shifts, including nights or weekends. 

As you can see, the need for patient coordinators in hospital settings is the greatest. These will be full-time positions for the most part and may even require evening and overnight shifts, depending on your employer. 

For insights into a career as a patient coordinator, please visit the Healthcare Degrees section of our blog. Here you will find valuable information about health information administration and becoming a patient coordinator. 

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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