Worksite health programs were initially developed to provide first aid and emergency care to employees working in remote locations. Today, many employers have found that by offering medical and other services via onsite, near-site, mobile or virtual clinics, they can improve access to care, reduce time away from work, offer more efficient and higher quality care and gain greater employee engagement.
Patients typically see their physician 1-2 times each year, for 7-12 minutes per visit. However, people are at their workplace 1,000-2,000 hours a year, which gives an employer a tremendous opportunity to educate employees about their health, as well offer services to monitor and treat conditions.
A growing trend
According to a recent survey by the National Association of Worksite Health Centers, over 30 percent of employers of all sizes have some form of an onsite or near-site medical clinic. The National Business Group on Health has found that close to 50 percent of large employers, those with over 5,000 workers, have clinics, and by 2020, two-thirds will have such facilities.
Today, services provided at the worksite can run the entire spectrum of health care, including not just medical, but dental, vision, physical therapy, chiropractic, lab and pharmacy services. And most employers don’t charge for such services.
An employer-sponsored health center can serve as the hub of the worksite wellness wheel in integrating and analyzing all the data from vendor and employer-sponsored health-related programs and activities. At the same time, the onsite clinical staff increases the engagement of their workers in the multiple preventive and condition management programs they offer. This type of population health approach effectively identifies unnecessary services, gaps in care, opportunities for savings and variations in quality.
Onsite health centers act as an extension of a patient’s physician’s office. It also offers a source of primary and acute care for the 40 to 60 percent of employees who don’t have a personal physician. Employer-sponsored onsite and near-site clinics are evolving to support this type of population health management effort by serving as “health and wellness centers” and medical homes.
This benefit solution is not limited to large manufacturers, as employers of almost any size can offer these improvements to their employees’ health, healthcare costs, productivity and retention rate.