The medical staff at any health care facility is assisted by a team of nonclinical professionals, such as the hospital registrar---sometimes called a patient registrar. Each person admitted to the hospital must first talk with a registrar, who collects personal and medical data from the patient or his family and starts the record that will accompany him through the medical system.
The hospital registrar fulfils the important role of admitting patients to the hospital. According to a job posting by Riverview Hospital in Noblesville, Indiana, "Primary duties include greeting patients and families and initiating the medical record, both written and electronic. The registrar is responsible for quality patient registrations by obtaining thorough and accurate information in a timely and efficient manner and entering this data correctly." The registrar collects personal data as well as payment information and verifies health insurance coverage.
Some hospitals schedule their registrars to work 12-hour shifts while others schedule them to mirror the nurses' schedules in eight hour shifts, which start at 7:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m or 11:00 p.m. Because the hospital is open 24 hours a day, registrars must be available to work occasional nights, weekends and holidays.
Most hospital registrars have a high school diploma or GED. Some hospitals prefer additional experience as a registrar. Some hospitals also prefer that registrars be familiar with basic medical terminology, various types of insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Registrars must be able to work long hours at a computer or move around the hospital to complete patient registration at the bedside when necessary.
Hospital registrars must have excellent customer service skills. They must have good written and verbal communication skills and be fluent in the languages that are spoken by a majority of the hospital patients. They must be able to keep accurate data and keep all information confidential. They must be honest, trustworthy and hardworking. Before they begin their job, registrars must pass a physical exam, drug test and criminal background check.
Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain separate data on hospital registrars, but they report that in the more general category of medical records and health information technicians, positions were expected to grow more than 20 per cent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average rate of job growth in the United States. According to the website Simply Hired, the average salary of a hospital registrar in 2010 was £22,100.