This week marks Patient Access Week, a time to recognize healthcare access professionals making a difference! For those of us who aren’t entirely familiar with the industry, you might be wondering what exactly “patient access” means. If you’re interested in what these professionals do to impact the lives of patients or are considering a career in healthcare access, let’s take a closer look at the profession!
In a nutshell, patient access professionals are the face of health systems.
In a very general sense, they provide upfront services to patients, providers and payers during the entire registration process. Think of them as the friendly face of the business side of healthcare! Patient access services take place at the beginning of the revenue cycle or, usually, when the first contact with a patient is made.
What are patient access services?
According to the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM), there are a number of important services that fall under the patient access umbrella. These services include, but are not limited to the following: scheduling, call centers, registration, admissions, patient finance, guest relations and more!
What types of positions do patient access professionals hold?
With the long list of services provided, there comes a number of different jobs available to professionals in the industry. To name a few: patient access representative, financial counselor, scheduling manager, registration representative or admitting manager. Being a patient access professional can be extremely rewarding because, as the face of a health care organization, you get to be connected to different kinds of healthcare professionals from across the industry, leading to new challenges and opportunities along the way.
What does it take to be a patient access professional?
Being the first point of contact is an important job that requires excellent customer service skills! These types of jobs require individuals that love interacting with others. In fact, with so much face time, patient access professionals have a direct impact on the entire patient experience. Did you know that hospitals that provide a superior customer service achieve net margins 50 percent higher than those providing an average customer experience? This makes patient access professionals important parts of any successful healthcare team.
What are the responsibilities in this sort of role?
Patient access responsibilities include providing quality customer service, identifying patients, scheduling resources, collecting accurate patient information, point of service collections and other activities that fall under the business side of any healthcare organization.
Where do patient access professionals work?
When it comes to patient access, variety is the name of the game. The NAHAM shares these settings in which patient access professionals typically work: hospitals, health systems, clinics, long-term care, surgery centers, ambulatory surgery centers, rehabilitation centers. The important thing to remember is that while some of these services occur on-site at a hospital, many scheduling and pre-intervention functions may be performed in a business setting, like an office.
While patient access professionals might be some of the first people patients see, they’re often the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry. During Patient Access Week and throughout the year, these professionals are making a difference with excellent customer service skills and detailed responsibilities.
Are you interested in a career in patient access after learning more? We’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments below!