Employers’ interest in the health of their employees may seem like a recent development, but companies have been investing in the health and productivity of their workforces for the past century. However, more recently the scope of services has broadened. What began as a focus on occupational injuries has expanded to strategically address all the healthcare needs of employees with a focus on total healthcare cost containment.
Overview of Clinic Services
Today’s worksite health clinics offer employers the ability to not only contain employee healthcare costs but also delivers an effective retention and recruitment tool that promotes employee productivity.
Until recently, work site clinics were primarily popular only at the largest employers in the U.S., however the trend is now spreading to midsize employers of 300 or more employees. Generally, the care received at the clinic is free to the member and there is an added convenience factor for employees.
The modern worksite health clinic offers a continuum of care and can be seamlessly integrated with offsite resources. Not only are preventive care services such as immunizations and screening available, but acute medical problems and chronic conditions can be managed as well. Today’s clinics provide a holistic approach to healthcare delivering a full suite of services designed to address all of the influencers of health including psychological, social, behavioral, and medical factors. Common services provided are:
- Primary/urgent care
- Preventative care
- Occupational health
- Pharmacy services
- Health coaching
- Disease management
- Wellness programs
- Population health management
- Price Transparency/patient advocacy
- Referrals to value based specialists
Return on Investment
In the past, worksite clinics primarily achieved return on investment by reducing claims for primary care/urgent care and ER visits. In addition, they delivered savings for workers compensation and short-term disability. However, the modern clinic offers a more compelling value proposition and much greater associated healthcare savings. In the current model, there are additional reductions in claims as follows:
- High cost claimants and chronic disease care (from population health management)
- Inpatient/outpatient procedures and diagnostics (price transparency)
- Specialty care (narrow network of value based providers)
Having a medical clinic at the workplace makes a big difference in actively engaging members. The clinic builds trust among employees and this trust leads to stronger provider-patient relationships within the clinic. When an employee is identified as a high-risk patient, the clinic staff realizes much higher levels of participation in interventional programs as compared to a disease management company or carrier attempting to reach this patient via the telephone after hours.
When disease is present, the worksite health clinic makes case management much more effective through better employee access and ongoing dialogue. Evidence shows that face-to-face support and coaching leads to greater adherence and reduced costs over traditional disease management services.
Benefits of Worksite Health Clinics
Instituting a worksite health clinic can be a smart investment. The availability of primary care providers, population health management, and preventative services reduces chronic disease costs, hospitalizations, and specialist referrals. An emphasis on generic drug prescribing, medication compliance, risk factor reversal and the use of efficient specialists all result in decreased cost, as does evidence-based treatment of chronic disease.
Also, the current process of patients choosing healthcare services does not make it easy for either employers or employees to get the right information to make smart choices. As a result, employees may not be getting the highest quality of care at the most efficient price. More transparency and better use of data are necessary to get employees the right choice of care.
Worksite health clinics offer value for both employers and employees:
- They can help a company become an employer of choice by offering easy access to care through a trusted provider.
- They can help keep workers safe through medical surveillance and ergonomic services, and can speed their return to work after injury or illness.
- By properly analyzing patient clinical and claims data, worksite health clinics can deliver higher quality care at a lower cost.
If done correctly, worksite health clinics become part of a seamless, integrated system that harnesses the power of data to make the most efficient and effective use of healthcare resources. This improves the quality of care for employees, optimizes the management of employers’ healthcare costs, and improves employee productivity.