Patient relations directors work at hospitals or medical clinics. They oversee the interaction between the patient and various professionals in the medical provider’s office. These include doctors, nurses, patient registration personnel and the billing department. The patient relations director addresses patient concerns and ensures that the patient and his family understand the treatment options as well as the financial implications of those treatments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary of a patient relations director was $101,340 in May 2013.
The patient relations director interacts with the patient and her family on a regular basis. He reviews documents provided by other departments with the patient and notes any questions that the patient asks. He may also survey the patient to determine if she is satisfied with her care or to identify any issues she needs addressed. He investigates the patient's concerns and seeks to resolve them. If the patient needs access to community resources, he shares information on the services available as well as whom to contact. He also instructs the patient when she will need to obtain and use medical equipment to assist in her recovery after she leaves the hospital or clinic.
Education and Qualifications
A patient relations director needs a bachelor’s degree in nursing, health care or a related field. Many also hold a master’s degree, which enhances their value to their employer. Work experience in the healthcare industry increases the individual's knowledge base regarding potential services available. The patient relations director needs excellent interpersonal skills and compassion, as she works with patients who may be suffering physically while struggling to understand the information about their diagnosis.
Patient relations directors spend at least half of their workday sitting at a desk. They contact patients and colleagues using email or telephone. In addition, they travel to see patients. They may travel within the facility or to alternate sites to meet with patients.
The BLS predicts that opportunities for patient relations directors will grow by 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations. The greatest employment opportunities are in hospitals, physicians’ offices, skilled nursing facilities, home health care and outpatient care centers.