What Does a Patient Access Representative Do? (With FAQ and Sample Job Description)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Patient access representatives are integral in clinical settings because they are usually the first point of contact for patients and families entering healthcare facilities. These professionals perform a variety of essential job duties and rely on their training and skills to provide guidance to patients.

If you're interested in entering a career in healthcare with a focus on administrative responsibilities, there are several things to consider about the position. In this article, we explore what a patient access representative is, what they do on the job, some requirements you may need to meet and several FAQs to help you decide if this is the right career for you.

Related: Why Work in Health Care? 8 Reasons To Consider a Career in Health Care

What is a patient access representative?

A patient access representative is a professional in the healthcare field who guides patients through the admissions process when being admitted to a hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility. These professionals apply a range of skills to greet incoming patients, screen and prepare patients' medical information for clinical staff and record patients' information during admission and upon discharge. Many patient access representatives have experience in computer applications to perform tasks that require data entry and information documentation.

Related: Learn About Being a Medical Assistant

What does a patient access representative do?

Patient access representatives perform a variety of tasks that support patient's arrival and discharge from medical facilities. They greet patients and serve as the first point of contact for patients and their families upon arriving at hospitals, healthcare clinics, medical offices and other healthcare facilities. Along with their essential job duties of processing patient information for admission and discharge, patient access representatives may also be responsible for:

  • Processing patients' information, including reasons for seeking treatment and insurance information

  • Entering patient information into clinical databases and maintaining accurate patient records

  • Communicating important information with appropriate staff members

  • Answering patients' questions and providing guidance through concerns or issues

  • Preparing paperwork and documentation for patient discharge and providing guidance for follow-ups after discharge

  • Performing general administrative and office tasks

Related: Learn About Being a Medical Office Assistant

Requirements for a patient access representative

Although many clinical employers may not require patient access representatives to have medical experience, many facilities prefer candidates to have some experience working in a clinical setting performing administrative tasks. However, patient access representatives may often need to meet specific educational and training requirements:

Education and training

Most employers require patient access representatives to hold at least a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). However, some facilities may require patient access representatives to complete an associate's degree or at least some college coursework in a clinical field like healthcare administration. You can boost your career prospects and advance in your career with a bachelor's in clinical or healthcare administration or related field, though a four-year degree isn't a requirement for this role.

The training patient access representatives may need to complete can include learning medical terminology, developing data entry and word processing skills and learning the procedures and protocols of the facility they work in. Patient access representatives may also choose to take training courses in ethical practices and patient privacy laws.

Work experience

Patient access representatives typically have previous experience working in a clerical or administrative position. For instance, data entry, office assistance and customer service are several fields that patient access representatives may have experience in. Employers often look for candidates with clerical experience because many of the essential job duties for patient access representatives require similar tasks to office and clerical administration.

Essential skills

Because of the administrative tasks patient access representatives are responsible for, they must possess strong computer skills and effective communication. Using word processing software and computer databases are typical duties these professionals perform, which require the ability to communicate effectively in writing and proficiency with digital applications. Interpersonal skills and strong customer service skills are also necessary, as these professionals interact with patients and families daily. Attention to detail and organizational skills help patient access professionals maintain patient information accurately so they can communicate important details with clinical staff in a timely manner.

Related: 12 Top Job Skills for Any Industry: Transferable Skills You Need

FAQs about being a patient access representative

Consider several frequently asked questions about working as a patient access representative for more information about this career path:

What's the work environment like for patient access representatives?

Patient access representatives work mainly in an office setting within a clinical or healthcare facility. They often work in outpatient surgery clinics, hospitals, private practices and in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Since most of the tasks these professionals perform support administrative and office processes, potential patient access reps must be comfortable sitting and working on a computer throughout their workday. Their schedules may also vary to include some weekend or overnight hours (especially in hospitals), but many patient access representatives can work during traditional business hours.

Related: 6 Different Work Environment Types and Example Career Roles

What's the job outlook for patient access representatives?

Patient access representatives and similar roles, like medical records and health information technicians, can expect an 8% increase in available jobs between 2019 and 2029 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the growth of available healthcare access both in-person and through digital appointments with doctors, nurses and other medical providers, patient access representatives can find many diverse career opportunities.

How much can patient access representatives earn?

The earning potential for access representatives can vary between employers, locations and by work experience or level of education. According to Indeed's salary data, related roles like patient services representative and patient access manager can reflect a similar earning potential as patient access representatives, ranging from $28,339 per year to $38,537 per year, respectively. Additionally, many patient access representatives can increase their earning potential as they spend more time in their careers.

How can patient access representatives advance their career?

Patient access representatives may often enter the career with their high school diplomas, however, pursuing an associate's degree in a related field can help you advance in your career. For instance, an associate's degree and several years of experience working in a clinical setting can prepare you for advancing into another healthcare or medical field, including nursing and clinical administration.

Patient access representatives may pursue professional certification to showcase their skills and expertise, such as the Certified Patient Care Technician (CPCT) credential. Likewise, some patient access representatives complete their bachelor's degrees in healthcare administration, health informatics or another related clinical field, further advancing their careers.

Related: 10 Certifications To Help You Advance in the Healthcare Profession

Sample job description for a patient access representative

Use the following example job description for a patient access representative to get an idea of what employers may look for when looking for a job:

Belleview Regional Hospital is currently seeking a patient access representative to serve as the first point of contact for patients and their families upon arrival to our facility. Candidates must greet and assist patients in checking into the hospital front desk and guiding them through admissions. Responsibilities for this role include processing patient health and insurance information, preparing documentation for admissions and discharges and answering patient questions about the admission and discharge processes.

To be successful in this position, you must be able to perform clinical administrative tasks efficiently and maintain a professional and friendly attitude. Compassion and a commitment to helping people is also a must for the role of patient access representative.

Essential job responsibilities:

  • Greeting patients and their families when they arrive to the admissions center

  • Collecting patient information, including medical history, billing and insurance information and primary care provider information

  • Preparing documents for admitting and discharging patients from the hospital

  • Entering information into hospital database and ensuring the accuracy of patient records

  • Communicating information with hospital staff

  • Educating patients and their caregivers on hospital policies, admission and discharge procedures, visitation schedules and clinical protocols

Job requirements:

  • High school diploma or GED

  • Experience in an office assistant, clerical or clinical administration role preferred

  • Associate's degree in clinical administration or related field

  • Strong organizational and administrative skills

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

  • Proficiency in word processing programs and data entry

  • Ability to take on multiple tasks and maintain attention to detail

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced hospital environment

How to apply:

Please submit your resume and application packet to our hiring manager, Anita Fischer: afischer@belleview.healthcaresystems.net. Include your preferred times for us to contact you about the position. Please allow up to two weeks for our hiring staff to review your application and contact you.

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