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Effective treatment coordinators can make a difference in a patient's experience during a medical procedure. Their job is to help patients as they experience treatments that might be painful, unfamiliar or scary. Coordinators provide treatment information to patients, schedule appointments and maintain health records. Although many work in dental health facilities, others can find jobs in substance abuse centers and nursing homes.
Using the Necessary Skills
Communication plays a large part in the work of treatment coordinators. When a patient asks whether she can pay a medical bill in monthly installments, for example, the coordinator requires strong speaking and listening skills to give the information effectively. Good interpersonal and customer-service skills are also essential. Competent coordinators must create a friendly environment while interacting with patients, as well as promote the facility's treatment services in an ethical manner. Organizational and time-management skills are also important.
Planning Treatment Services
After a patient has been assessed by a physician, the treatment coordinator receives documents from the physician detailing the patient's diagnosis and available treatment plans. He meets with the patient and informs him about the benefits and risks of the various treatment options, and the costs associated with each. After the patient accepts a treatment plan, the coordinator schedules an appointment with a physician, and when the date nears, he contacts the patient to confirm attendance.
Another duty of treatment coordinators is to ensure that the healthcare facility has up-to-date records of its clients. They must consistently document patient activities and submit records to the health information clerk for filing. In this role, the coordinators must adhere to the health information privacy laws enforced by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. In some healthcare settings, such as dental clinics, treatment coordinators usually carry out technical duties, such as shooting digital photos of patient wounds.
Although a high school diploma is sufficient in many cases, some healthcare settings may require a postsecondary qualification. For example, rehabilitation centers typically prefer individuals with an associate degree in counseling. The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators offers certification programs. Treatment coordinators may combine certification with an associate or bachelor’s degree in health unit coordination to become health unit coordinators.
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