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A central scheduler coordinates appointments for a medical facility. Medical personnel who wish to schedule testing or other procedures for patients can contact this member of the staff to set up multiple appointments with different services. This reduces the amount of time spent on bureaucratic details while providing patient care, including diagnosis and follow-up. It can also streamline medical testing and related procedures, increasing patient satisfaction and utilizing staff efficiently. Job positions in this field usually require at least a year of experience in medical environments.
When a call is placed to central scheduling, providers discuss the nature of the testing they need. A patient being worked up for a cardiac problem might need an electrocardiogram test, blood testing, and a stress test. The central scheduler can review the tests requested by the physician and evaluate when they can be scheduled with the different departments that may be involved. This includes scheduling the tests close to each other so the patient doesn’t spend a lot of time waiting, and coordinating personnel in those departments so they know about the comprehensive testing.
Doctors or nurses can be provided with information about the date and time of the testing to convey to the patient. The central scheduler can also set up a patient reminder to make sure patients are advised about their testing so they can prepare. This may include sending patients a card or brochure with information if they need to take any special steps before the testing, such as fasting on the night before the testing, taking a specific medication, or temporarily stopping medications so they don’t interfere with the result.
In addition to scheduling, the job can include checking on insurance coverage. Central schedulers can determine if patients have insurance and may find out whether tests and procedures will be covered. They can provide information to patients with concerns about paying for testing and may help people apply for authorization ahead of time, contacting the insurance company to get permission to perform a specific procedure. The central scheduler wants to ensure that procedures will be fully covered.
This job requires phone skills, as the central scheduler needs to be able to communicate with patients and medical personnel effectively and efficiently. Knowledge of computer systems is also usually necessary, along with an understanding of medical privacy laws, as confidential information can be included in scheduling documentation. Understanding basic medical terminology and the types of procedures offered at a facility is also important, and can help the central scheduler confirm that patients are scheduled for a full battery of appropriate tests.
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