Healthcare is a multi-faceted field composed of a wide variety of professions, among which is the patient access representative.
The patient access rep is the first person people meet when they enter a healthcare facility.
He or she will set the stage for meeting a patient’s immediate medical needs.
As a patient rep, you’ll check in new patients, compile their insurance, health, and contact details, and help them connect with a physician to receive the care they need.
Your prompt, confident, compassionate services can help make hospital visits much easier to bear for patients and their families.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Pros of Being a Patient Access Representative
- 2 Cons of Being a Patient Access Representative
- 3 Should You Become a Patient Access Representative?
- 4 Pros and Cons of Being a Patient Access Representative – Summary Table
Pros of Being a Patient Access Representative
Like any healthcare profession, there are pros and cons to being a patient access rep.
Here are some of the positive aspects of this profession:
1. Exposure to the Healthcare Field
Patient access reps help with the administrative aspects of the healthcare field.
It’s a good way to enter the medical field without becoming a doctor, medical assistant, or nurse.
As a patient rep, you’ll learn and develop such skills as data entry, medical coding, insurance billing, record-keeping, and other business skills.
You’ll also meet directly with patients and their families, answering their questions about health issues and addressing their concerns.
You’ll expand your knowledge of medical conditions and treatments and hone your people skills.
2. Competitive Salary/Benefits
Your salary as a patient access rep will vary depending on your employer, education, and experience.
At the entry-level, you may make between $27,000 and $31,000 annually.
Some companies pay more for reps with certification or an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.
The more training, education, and experience you have, the higher salary you can command.
Your employer may also offer benefits like 401(k), health, dental insurance, and disability insurance to augment your salary.
These perks can greatly enhance your career.
3. Potential to Advance Your Career
A job as a patient access representative could be only the beginning of your career.
Once you’ve learned the ropes and gained valuable experience, you can advance your career.
From patient access rep, you could transition to a managerial position or supervisor.
You could even train others interested in this profession, passing on your wealth of experience and expertise.
These are just a few ideas of how you can advance your career.
4. Work in Teamwork
As a patient access rep, you’ll work in teamwork with other healthcare professionals in their field.
You’ll have a chance to glean from the experience of others in the medical field.
You can develop strong ties with your co-workers in a welcoming, non-competitive work environment.
Working closely with others is a good way to make lasting friendships on a personal and professional level.
Good teamwork skills can be a tremendous asset in advancing your career.
5. Positive Impact on Others
Your career as a patient rep will put you in contact with people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life.
Whether you work in a hospital, doctor’s office, senior living facility, or other institution, you can make a positive impact on others.
People will look to you for help and guidance on how to receive the medical help they need.
As the initial contact person in your medical institution, you’re in a good position to help others in their time of need.
6. Rewarding Career
Worry and fear are prevalent in hospital settings as patients don’t know what to expect.
As a patient rep, you can allay those fears by providing people with the information they need.
You can be a beacon of hope to others to give them peace of mind during tumultuous times.
Knowing you’re helping others is one of the greatest perks of the job.
You play an important role in helping patients navigate health insurance difficulties to get the medical care they need.
7. Job Security
There’s great demand for patient access specialists across the country.
If you choose this profession, you’ll have job security for many years to come.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job market is expected to grow exponentially between 2020 and 2030.
As healthcare becomes more readily accessible to the public, patient reps will have multiple opportunities for employment.
You can work in local hospitals, clinics, senior care facilities, doctor’s offices, wellness centers, and other medical establishments.
Cons of Being a Patient Access Representative
After hearing the positive side of this job, you may wonder if there are negative aspects as well.
Unfortunately, such is the case.
Here are some of the cons of becoming a patient access rep:
1. Education and Ongoing Training
Although you only need a high school education for this field, many employers prefer that their rep have more training.
Some facilities require the completion of a certification program or degree in clinical or healthcare administration.
Higher education will help you land a better-paying job to kickstart your career.
As a patient rep, you’ll need training in medical terminology, data entry, word processing, medical coding, insurance billing, etc.
You’ll also need to learn the protocols of the doctor’s office or facility you work for.
Ongoing training is also a must to stay on top of the changing policies of the healthcare field.
2. Erratic Work Schedule
Depending on your employer, your work schedule as a patient access rep may be irregular.
If you work in a hospital, you may need to work nights, weekends, or holidays.
Rather than have a fixed schedule, you may need to adapt your work hours to your employer’s needs.
A varied work schedule can disrupt your personal, social, or family life.
If you have a family, particularly small children, this may not be the best career choice for you.
3. Emotional Challenges
Emotionally, the job of a patient rep can be challenging as it can put you in contact with extremely needy people.
You may work with people who are struggling with severe healthcare or financial problems.
You may feel you’re not doing enough to help people through their difficult times.
Your limitations could take a toll on you emotionally or make you feel ineffective in your job.
You’ll need to learn how to cope with emotional turmoil so that it doesn’t lead to job dissatisfaction or depression.
Depending on your work duties and environment, stress could be a downside to the job.
You may be given more responsibilities or tasks than you can handle, putting you under undue pressure.
On top of your heavy workload, you may have impractical deadlines to meet.
Your stress could be compounded by the stress of your patients and their families as they cope with severe health issues.
In your line of work, you’ll face difficult situations over which you have no control.
In order to avoid stress and anxiety, you’ll need to learn how to effectively handle these aspects of the job.
5. Demanding Job
The duties of a patient access representative are many and varied, which can demand a lot of your time.
You’ll be expected to handle administrative duties with precision and care.
There will be timely matters to attend to and you may have strict deadlines.
You’ll be expected to interact courteously and professionally with patients and their families, even if they’re rude to you.
You’ll also need to work in teamwork with other healthcare specialists to help meet your patient’s needs.
In addition, you’ll need to set aside time for ongoing training to stay on top of changing healthcare standards.
6. Exposure to Contagious Diseases
Like most healthcare workers, a patient rep is at risk of being exposed to contagious diseases.
You’re the contact person for sick patients entering your facility daily.
You won’t get advanced warning of the infections or diseases patients may be carrying.
If you suffer from a chronic health issue, constant exposure to sickness and disease can further weaken your health.
Fortunately, your exposure is limited as compared to that of doctors and nurses who will be providing hands-on treatment.
7. Few, If Any, Opportunities for Working Remotely
Many jobs today offer opportunities to work remotely, from the comfort of home.
Not so with the career of a patient access representative.
Almost all patient rep jobs require you to work from a specific office or healthcare facility.
You may also have little leeway when it comes to flexible scheduling.
You may find the demands of the job give you little time to tend to your own welfare or personal needs.
Should You Become a Patient Access Representative?
If you’re content working in an administrative position in the healthcare field, you could be a good candidate for patient access rep.
This job gives you a chance to develop both business and people skills.
There are also opportunities for advancement once you’ve gained experience in your profession.
After a few years, you may have the chance to advance to a managerial or supervisory position with higher pay.
The job of a patient rep can be both rewarding and challenging, as you never know what the day will bring.
However, you can take heart in knowing your services are essential to patients and medical professionals in the healthcare field.
Pros and Cons of Being a Patient Access Representative – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Patient Access Representative||Cons of Being a Patient Access Representative|
|Exposure to the Healthcare Field||Education and Ongoing Training|
|Competitive Salary/Benefits||Erratic Work Schedule|
|Potential to Advance Your Career||Emotional Challenges|
|Work in Teamwork||Stress|
|Positive Impact on Others||Demanding Job|
|Rewarding Career||Exposure to Contagious Diseases|
|Job Security||Few, If Any, Opportunities for Working Remotely|