When my phone rang a few hours after I’d had bilateral eye surgery, I thought it was a friend or family member calling to check up on me. Instead, I was greeted by the voice of the ophthalmologist who had performed my procedure that morning.
In a conversation that lasted less than two minutes, my surgeon was able to personally assess my post-operative condition, answer the question I’d forgotten to ask before discharge and provide me with the comforting assurance that all was going according to plan. I felt very well cared for.
Of course, not every doctor has the time, the proclivity or the need to make follow-up calls on a regular basis. That’s where patient rapport managers come in.
What are patient rapport managers?
Patient rapport managers are members of your team with healthcare experience who provide extra attention to patients on your behalf. Serving as a liaison between you and your patients and/or their caregivers, this person delivers the ad hoc follow-up you simply don’t have the bandwidth to offer. As a go-between for people on both sides of the examination table, patient rapport managers bridge any gaps between patients and practitioners.
What do patient rapport managers do?
There are countless services patient rapport managers can offer including touching base with patients after an invasive procedure, a sudden illness, a trauma or an emotional event, such as the death of a family member. They can also review standard protocols, such as wound care or concussion management; assess compliance and the basic effectiveness of prescriptions or treatments; notify patients about scheduling changes or delays; and suggest appropriate after-hour referrals for agencies, such as home care or social services.
Most importantly, patient rapport managers can be on the lookout for any medical red flags that warrant your attention but might otherwise be missed. They can then notify you so you can be proactive in providing the necessary care.
How much do patient rapport managers work?
The number of hours patient rapport managers work depends entirely on the responsibilities you assign. This position is ideal for healthcare professionals who would like to work part time from home because follow-up calls or texts can be made from anywhere and often occur during the evening.
Or, you could have in-house patient rapport managers who make follow-up calls from your clinic as part of their daily routine. That’s what happened when I had a dermatologic procedure not long ago. As part of the dermatologist’s standard protocol, the nurse who assisted during the excision phoned the next morning to see how I was doing. I was familiar with her, and I welcomed her thoughtful call. It was a lovely touch.