Each Job, Every Day: Patient Relations

They’re the true problem-solvers. And through their work, they help shape patient experience.

Patient Relations representatives help improve the experience for patients and families through facilitated support, problem-solving and effective and efficient management of complaints and grievances in compliance with applicable regulations.

However, our representatives do so much more. No matter how small or overwhelming a patient’s issue, patient representatives strive to address their concerns.

University of Minnesota Medical Center Patient Relations staff include (from left): Brenda Burmeister, representative; Laure Campbell, manager; Maggie Petermann, Casey McGuire and Naquita Lane, representatives; and Kristi Kirchberg, department business coordinator. Not pictured are Julie Mandery, representative, and Alyssa Schoen, interim director.

University of Minnesota Medical Center Patient Relations staff include (from left): Brenda Burmeister, representative; Laure Campbell, manager; Maggie Petermann, Casey McGuire and Naquita Lane, representatives; and Kristi Kirchberg, department business coordinator. Not pictured are Julie Mandery, representative, and Alyssa Schoen, interim director.

What they do

There’s more to patient relations than just talking to patients about their concerns. Each Patient Relations team offers a formal process when receiving, documenting and managing patient concerns.

A patient representative’s day is filled with telephone or face-to-face patient interactions, collaboration and consultation with peers and hospital staff and drafting of letters to patients.

On average, a patient representative has more than 20 active cases each day.

“The representatives are remarkably skilled, flexible and adept,” says Laure Campbell, Patient Relations manager at University of Minnesota Medical Center.

We have site-based Patient Relations teams around the system but, together, they’re aligned under a common goal: to provide the best experience possible for patients and their families.

Why they do it

Their job is fast-paced and can be highly stressful, but staff say the rewards can be enormous.

“It is most satisfying to find a resolution for patients,” says Julie Gilbert, Patient Relations representative in the North Region. “My passion is to make sure questions are answered correctly and in a timely manner.

“I got into this work to help people with their problems and make sure they have the best patient experience possible.”

Tina Domeyer, Fairview Patient Relations representative in the South Region, says she finds the opportunity to directly impact patient experience the most satisfying part of her job. “It is an honor to be able to listen to our patients and respond with compassion.”

Casey Mcguire, University of Minnesota Medical Center Patient Relations representative, agrees. “I joined the Patient Relations team to help make the health care world more welcoming and comfortable for patients and their families.”

“It’s gratifying to circle back with someone whose complaint had been resolved. Word of mouth is very powerful – if someone had a great experience,” says Kristi Kirchberg, business coordinator for Patient Relations and patient experience.

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