BY BEN EVANS, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, OURHEALTH
Scheduling a doctor’s appointment is hard. Leave work early. Come in late. Work through lunch. Finally get there only to have to fill out a mountain of paperwork and wait 30 minutes for a 5-minute appointment. And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that the system is reactive and does a horrible job of keeping people healthy.
Face it, the American healthcare model has broken down into this tangled, complicated system with soaring costs, long wait times and a complex system that is nearly impossible for employers, consumers and health providers to navigate. OurHealth, an Indianapolis-based provider of onsite and near-site clinics, is working hard to flip that model. If we make healthy, happy employees the No. 1 priority, healthy outcomes, decreased costs, and increased productivity will most certainly follow.
And leading employers are playing a huge part in the transformation. More than 40 companies on Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2016 offer an onsite clinic in order to control the rising cost of healthcare, including USAA, Goldman Sachs, CustomInk and Capital One Financial.
But onsite clinics are not just for the Fortune 100. OurHealth has clients that run the gamut from local start-ups with a few hundred employees to major school systems and municipalities with several thousand. The enterprise wellness industry is growing at nearly double the rate of the overall economy according to an IBIS World Industry Report about corporate wellness services in the U.S.
And uncertainties in the healthcare industry aren’t slowing the trend. According to a 2015 Towers Watson survey, two-thirds of large employers with onsite health facilities say they’re planning to expand them, further validating the idea the clinics are truly reducing costs for companies and providing exceptional care for the employees that use them.
Here are the four biggest reasons these companies are saying “yes.”
With onsite and near-site healthcare clinics, your doctor is just steps—or a short car ride—away. The idea behind the clinics is to provide easy access and immediate attention, at little or no cost, for a host of health services employees would normally have to leave work to receive. Because off-site medical appointments can legitimately consume a half day or more of an employee’s time, giving employees convenient clinic access that’s nearby keeps them physically and mentally present and reduces lost productivity.
Onsite clinics also effectively deliver healthcare to everyone in your company, including those who otherwise wouldn’t have a primary care provider. For workers who already have a regular provider, clinic services can complement, rather than replace, their preferred primary care providers.
If your company doesn’t have the headcount, budget or physical space for an onsite clinic, consider a network of near-site clinics that multiple companies share. OurHealth has pioneered this model with its MyClinic and has greatly reduced the barrier to entry as a result. Access is immediate because the network is already built out and convenience is unrivaled because we strategically place them where the hot spots of the local population live. Moreover, the MyClinics will change your mental model of what a clinic looks like. Half spa, half coffee shop, modern furniture, Spotify playlists in the background in addition to friendly, high quality health providers that want to deliver medicine in a personalized way which they simply can’t do when they’re part of a major healthcare system.
Onsite and near-site clinics give both employees and companies healthy returns on their productivity and bottom lines. Clinics at or close to work are much better than implementing another costly, off-site program that doesn’t get adopted and quickly eliminates the cost savings you sought to begin with. Although much of the cost saving data that comes from companies using onsite or near-site clinics is anecdotal by each business’ experience, one study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows this type of well-designed, convenient health program can have a return on investment of $1.50–$3 per dollar spent over a two- to nine-year timeframe. That return on investment can benefit your company’s bottom line for years to come, as affordable, quality care helps keep medical leave down and employee productivity up.
It’s important to realize healthier employees are better for your health insurance budget. As more and more make the shift to high deductible health plans its critical to give your employees the tools to make more thoughtful decisions around how they spend their healthcare dollars.
Making preventive and first aid services available on or close to your worksite will reduce the use and cost of hospital emergency rooms visits – the highest place to get medical services – for non-emergency or otherwise avoidable conditions. On-site or near-site clinics can be specifically designed to make sure all employees participate in services and are tailored to the services your employees use most.
Preventive services from made available through onsite and near-site clinics also encourage better long-term employee health. Providing low- or no-cost resources and treatment close to work will increase use of preventive and wellness programs, therefore lessening the severity of common illnesses, managing chronic conditions with regular checkups, improving and correcting prescription use and boosting employee patient health outcomes overall.
Additionally, clinics can help your company focus on population-specific health goals like reducing blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, which can potentially eliminate reliance on medications or future health issues caused by those health issues.
Giving access to onsite and near-site healthcare clinics builds a continually healthy, cared-for workforce over time, creating a “health equity” with returning value year after year.
3. Increased productivity
A healthy workforce is more productive. Implementing an onsite or near-site clinic for your company has a return on talent for your employee productivity, and it’s no secret human talent is at the heart of business performance and success.
The idea that healthy people are generally happier and more productive isn’t new. Workplace clinics were developed decades ago for companies in industries with high occupational injury rates. Those companies, which employed doctors and nurses to treat workers, were some of the first employer-sponsored clinics to provide care for workers in shipyards and steel mills before World War II. In recent years, the model has seen a resurgence because of rising healthcare costs, which have prompted employers to look beyond traditional occupational health to offer broader primary care for all types of workers in all types of industries.
Onsite and near-site clinics also hold value for recruiting new talent and retaining the talented employees you already have. Nearby, high-quality healthcare and wellness programs from these clinics will give your company an edge in the recruitment marketplace and make talent attraction and retention easier – especially for millennials, who are seeking well-rounded, nontraditional workplaces with a wide range of benefits.
4. Empowered employee health decisions
Above all else, convenient care close to work gives employees peace of mind.
Onsite and near-site clinics have a return on well-being for workers and shows you are actively listening and that you’re willing to create a culture where wellness comes first. By providing workplace clinics, you are empowering your employees them to make active, informed choices in their health care and lifestyle.
Many clinics even offer hour-long appointments with plenty of time for personal attention, questions and health coaching. Many clinics also provide out-of-office referrals and recommendations for employees who need other types of doctors for more specialized care outside of what the office can provide. Some clinic providers even offer follow-up calls and assistance with appointments to ensure patients are using all resources available. The payoff from these resources and touchpoints for employees during and after appointments often have a wellness value that can’t be calculated.
In addition to serving employees, employers can choose to support dependents on the specific healthcare insurance plan they decide on, adding to the idea that these clinics are a well-rounded and modern approach to health for companies that seek to ease employee work-life balance strains and costs. In short, the clinics prove your company cares about your employee’s individual and family quality of life.
Launching a close-to-work clinic gives everyone, from the CEO on down, the opportunity to get and stay healthy while also being productive and empowered. Establishing an onsite or near-site clinic for your employees goes beyond your company. It shows your company is willing to move toward a new global business culture where companies put employee health and benefits first.
Indianapolis-based OurHealth is a provider of onsite and near-site primary care clinics and services focused on enhancing the patient experience and lowering healthcare costs for businesses of all sizes. OurHealth offers a comprehensive healthcare approach to its clients and their employees, which includes primary and urgent care services, wellness services, onsite laboratory and medication dispensing services and referral guidance. OurHealth has healthcare clinics in Indiana, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
To learn about how an onsite or near-site clinic solution can deliver benefits like these, request a free healthcare ROI analysis from OurHealth.