A surgery scheduler coordinates appointments for operating rooms in order to streamline service delivery and appropriately prioritize cases. Interacting with patients and surgical teams, as well as customer service activities such as answering phones in some facilities, are all part of the job. Working in this field usually requires a high school diploma, and some hospitals may prefer people with medical experience. In the absence of experience, formal medical terminology and administration training obtained from a community college or technical school can be beneficial.
Hospitals frequently use software to help them manage their operating room space. Following the facility’s protocol, the surgery scheduler books specific operating rooms and ensures that personnel are aware of their schedule. This includes staffing rooms with full-time employees or relief personnel as needed. In an emergency, when surgeries run over, or in other situations, last-minute changes may be required, and the scheduler must act quickly to resolve the issue and get procedures back on track.
Patients can get information from surgery schedulers about when to arrive and how to prepare. They may also request a preauthorization letter collecting deposits or insurance information. This ensures that the procedure is paid for or that the patient is aware of the responsibility prior to surgery. A surgery scheduler can also handle billing, which may necessitate familiarity with coding systems used to standardize the description of various procedures.
It may be necessary to work with other departments within a hospital. Patients will need recovery beds after their surgeries, and wards will have space for them if they need to stay in the hospital, so the surgery scheduler needs to know. Working with hospital bed management staff to reserve spaces and move patients around as needed may be required. In an emergency situation where a hospital receives a large number of trauma cases, the surgery scheduler would collaborate with the emergency department to triage and assign cases according to their urgency.
Work schedules can be unpredictable. In some facilities, actual operating hours are limited, so a late-night surgery schedule may not be required because personnel can coordinate if a late-night case arrives. To manage operating room flow and handle emergencies, other facilities require staff to work late. It may be possible to work multiple shifts, and some employers allow employees to work flexible hours to accommodate additional professional training or other needs.