Worksite medical clinics have made headlines lately as some household-name companies have announced plans to use clinics to provide a bigger share of their employees’ healthcare. We’re not surprised: Worksite health services are the most direct way for employers to influence healthcare delivery and provide convenient and quality services to their employees and families.
Based on our recent survey of 121 clinic sponsors, we’re seeing an expansion in the scope of clinical services, growth of shared clinics and greater use of clinics as a medical home. Employers are finding that worksite clinics can be a strategic asset in a broader healthcare strategy that increasingly emphasizes narrow networks and soft steerage to value-based providers.
Here’s how survey respondents ranked their top objectives for the clinic:
- Manage spending. The survey found that employers’ top objective for their clinics is having better control of their overall healthcare spending. Nearly 9 in 10 respondents (89%) rated this objective either a 4 or 5 in importance on a scale of 1 to 5.
- Reduce health risks. This was closely followed by “reducing member health risk” (84%) — likely because many employers believe the two objectives are closely related.
- Improve productivity. The next two most common objectives speak to the convenience of a worksite clinic — “reducing absenteeism or presenteeism” (76%) and “increasing employee productivity” (75%).
- Provide better healthcare. Employers also utilize clinics as a way to enhance healthcare, with 71% citing “chronic condition management” and 69% citing “quality and/or consistency of care” as an important objective.
- Promote well-being programs. Clinics are increasingly positioned as centers for wellness and health promotion, and 66% of respondents say “enhancing health/wellness leadership” is an important objective.
- Attract and retain employees. In today’s tight labor market, a worksite clinic can be seen as a valuable perk, and 59% of respondents see the clinic as a “means of attracting and retaining valued employees.”
When asked about their organizations’ perception of the financial success of the clinic in terms of reducing health benefit trend, 61% of respondents believe it has been successful. Respondents were also asked about the clinic’s performance in improving employee health and wellness, and 71% say it has been successful in this regard.
As the market adapts to the growing demand, smaller self-funded employers are also able to take advantage of worksite clinics. Only 28% of respondents manage their clinic with in-house resources (that is, they employ or contract for staff directly), compared to 34% of the respondents in our 2015 survey and 43% of those in our 2012 survey. Key advantages of outsourced management include resources for staff management, risk avoidance to the company, avoidance of breaching corporate practice of medicine, clinical oversight and access to electronic medical records, analytics and reporting.
When designed and managed correctly, a worksite clinic can deliver high value to both employer and employee. If you haven’t studied the feasibility of offering a clinic lately, it might be time to see what your options are in a rapidly changing market. Ditto if you do offer a clinic but aren’t sure you’re getting all you can from it. Ongoing assessment and performance measurement are critical to optimize and take full advantage of this valuable investment in primary care.