Even though the cost of healthcare continues to increase for both employers and employees, one fact remains unchanged: Companies that provide easy, affordable access to value-based healthcare options realize significant cost containment a healthier workforce, and improved staff morale. This is why many mid and large size companies are now embracing alternate healthcare delivery solutions beyond basic health insurance plans for their employees.
When talking about employee healthcare, two terms tend to come up together – “workplace wellness” and “worksite health clinic.” While these concepts might seem like they’re one in the same, it’s critical to understand the key differences between the two.
How They’re Different
Workplace wellness refers to onsite company activities, promotions or policies that are designed to promote a healthy lifestyle for employees and dependents. Examples include biometric screenings, health coaching, adjustments in cafeteria menus, weight management programs and smoking cessation classes.
A worksite health clinic, on the other hand, is onsite facility where employees can receive all the services offered with workplace wellness plus value-based, onsite medical care for acute and chronic medical conditions, population health management, price transparency tools, referrals to narrow networks of high performance medical specialists, as well as onsite pharmacy services.
Worksite health clinics can literally transform the way healthcare is delivered to employees promoting only on value based care that delivers the best outcomes at the lowest cost. Furthermore, this care is focused on those that need it the most – members who are predicted to cost the health plan the most dollars in coming years.
In contrast to this are the limitations associated with worksite wellness programs. These programs are fundamentally flawed in that they focus most of their efforts on changing members lifestyle, coaching around nutrition, fitness and stress management. Modifying healthy lifestyle choices for member over the long term is a challenging objective. And even if achieved does not realize real reductions in claims for many years in the future.
This is supported by a recent journal article – The Relationship Between Return on Investment and Quality of Study Methodology in Workplace Health Promotion Programs. This review examined 51 studies in nine industry types in 12 nations with more than 260,000 participants. In summary, the review found ROIs for the interventions studies had an overall mean value of -0.22. This means that for every dollar invested in these programs, 78 cents was returned. In other words, the programs did not pay for themselves.
How They Can Work Together
Despite the questionable ROI for worksite wellness programs, they play a very important role in a workplace health center by:
- Promoting a corporate culture of health
- Increasing engagement in worksite initiatives around value based care
- Enhancing wellness initiative ROI through better integration with healthcare providers
- Integration of occupational medicine and wellness to reduce workers comp and short term disability claims
In summary, while workplace wellness and worksite health clinics are different strategies, a marriage of the two can result in a dynamic and effective healthcare solution that benefits employees and employers alike.