What Do Patient Care Coordinators Do?
Patient care coordinators facilitate communication between patients, family members, medical staff, administrative staff, social service organizations, and other health care providers. They assess the person’s physical, social, psychological, and financial needs. They are often the first contact for provision of information to the patient or physician on behalf of attending physicians. Patient care coordinators may also explain policies, procedures, or services to patients using medical or administrative knowledge, and provide consultation or training to volunteers or staff on topics such as guest relations, patients’ rights, and medical issues. They are familiar with community services and resources available to patients, and refer patients to appropriate health care services or resources. Patient care coordinators also train and educate patients, families, and medical and social service providers in case management and its goals, available services, and self-management. Patient navigation is an additional function of patient care coordinators, and can be its own specific job title. Case managers and care managers have similar roles to patient care coordinators and patient navigators, with differences in education requirements, experience, and responsibilities that fluctuate between locations, settings, and clientele.
As the name suggests, patient care coordinators are heavily involved in the coordination of care and will establish a system for monitoring the delivery of services. If needed, the care coordinator can act as an advocate if a conflict arises. They also ensure cost effectiveness and the quality of care for the patient.
Where Do Patient Care Coordinators Work?
Most patient care coordinators work in hospitals and ambulatory care settings such as clinics. However, many work for organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute, helping patients with complex care needs navigate the health care system.
What Do Patient Care Coordinators Earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not recognize patient care coordinator as a specific job title yet, and therefore does not report on earnings for this career. In 2016, onetonline.org reported that the median annual income for patient representatives nationwide was $36,120, higher than the nationwide median annual income of $32, 300.
Supply and Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for all customer representatives, including patient representatives, will increase by 14% in New York from 2014-2024—more than the nationwide increase of 9.8%.
Increased demand for this profession can be attributed to changes in health care systems (eg, coordinating multiple provider organizations), an aging population, and the complex needs of chronic disease patients.
For more information on projections of patient care coordinators by New York State labor regions,
Educational Program Requirements
Most patient care coordinator occupations require a 4-year bachelor’s degree, but some do not. Most patient care coordinators have degrees in social work, nursing, or public health.
New York Licensure Requirements
No license is needed to work as a patient care coordinator in New York State.
Patient care coordinators may receive training, which is recognized by the health services and national certification authority, but this training does not culminate in the awarding of a certificate.