What Is a Health Unit Coordinator? - MedCerts

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The healthcare industry is a well-oiled machine. Doctors and nurses work hand-in-hand with office assistants, IT specialists and administrative professionals whose work is all but invisible to patients. The health unit coordinator is one of those administrators.

What Does a Health Unit Coordinator Do?

A Health Unit Coordinator oversees the delivery of health care. They’re part clerical professional and part healthcare worker, transitioning seamlessly from patient interactions to filing and data entry. They’ll take on different responsibilities based on the needs of the practice, but there’s almost always a patient relations component and a more purely administrative component.

Liaising with Patients

With all these responsibilities, it sounds like a Health Unit Coordinator is some kind of medical care superhero—and in a way, they are. Health Unit Coordinators have to be great communicators and know how to explain the ins and outs of care. That means they have to be familiar with healthcare delivery, including intake, scheduling, and discharge.

Health Unit Coordinators have to be great with people as well since one of their responsibilities is being the face of the practice for patients and their families. Some Health Unit Coordinators may also be responsible for resolving patient complaints, which requires patience and listening skills as well as in-depth knowledge of their organization.

Supporting the Practice

The Health Unit Coordinator is also the liaison with the unit or practice staff. (Yes, they’re basically the liaison with everybody.) They train new employees and help everyone on staff understand how things are done in that unit or office. They also keep the infrastructure of the unit in good health, so to speak, with responsibilities including:

  • Ordering supplies
  • Arranging for repair or replacement of broken equipment
  • Maintaining employee schedules and patient appointment calendars
  • Keeping patient charts organized and complete

Health Unit Coordinators may also be responsible for preparing documents like birth and death certificates, admission forms and discharge paperwork.

Where Health Unit Coordinators Work

Health unit coordinators work anywhere healthcare is delivered. They might work in a hospital on a particular floor, perhaps organizing the cardiac care unit or ICU. Some work in other types of inpatient or outpatient centers, such as:

  • Nursing homes
  • Rehab centers
  • Public clinics
  • Multi-physician practices
  • Individual doctor’s offices

Chances are good that any healthcare facility near you has at least one Health Unit Coordinator on staff—if not, they’re probably in need of one.

How to Become a Health Unit Coordinator

The Health Unit Coordinator is the MVP of the healthcare field. They’re in high demand, and becoming one is within your reach.

Unlike many careers in the healthcare field, the Health Unit Coordinator position doesn’t require licensure or an advanced degree. Most of the time, it only requires a high school diploma.

There is no universal rule for what credentials a Health Unit Coordinator has to have, so every hiring organization gets to decide what their requirements are—and many decide that they want their Health Unit Coordinators to be certified. That means taking a course and completing a test.

If you’re interested in a Health Unit Coordinator career, it’s a great time to get in on the ground floor of the new program from MedCerts. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to get started.

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Published on January 21, 2020