Worksite Clinics: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Written by: Phillip Berry

With employer onsite clinics now entering the mature phase of their market lifecycle, worksite clinic management companies are increasingly facing pressure to deliver new and compelling results. Ongoing questions centering on return on investment, outcomes, impact, benefit, employee engagement, utilization, and savings  continue to frame the worksite clinic discussion in new and challenging ways. For companies that have entered their second, third, or even fourth contract renewal cycle, increasing expectations of the onsite clinic for improved results are very high. For companies new to the onsite model, available resources and lessons learned have expanded dramatically creating highly educated buyers with equally high expectations.

For clinic managers, discussions with employer clients now frequently center on the question: what have you done for me lately?

In the early days of worksite clinics, the idea of giving employees access to a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant was novel. Evolving from the occupational health model adopted years ago by manufacturers to address worksite injury issues, the worksite primary care model was born and employees could easily access acute care to deal with common health ailments and get back to work with minimal disruption.

From there, clinic managers began layering services into the onsite clinics to address new opportunities. Ancillary services like labs, prescriptions, wellness programs, behavioral health services, and occupational health options, were made part of the worksite clinic model. Impact focused on less expensive medical visits, reduced costs on the ancillary services, and improved productivity.

As time has gone on, employers have become more sophisticated buyers of worksite clinic services and have more aggressively pursued  innovative approaches to reducing healthcare costs. Seeking higher return on investment for their worksite clinic, employers have evolved to focus on broader views of their overall medical spend blending careful analysis of onsite clinic impact with a critical eye toward the pillars of their health benefits investment. The conclusion increasingly has become that the worksite clinic can be a nexus of employee health management, a facilitator of better outcomes, and ultimately, a driver of reduced overall medical costs.

Today’s worksite clinic has to serve its employer partner with strategic health services that encompass population health in new and innovative ways:

  • Chronic disease management
  • Weight management
  • Nutrition
  • Decision support with analytics
  • Patient advocacy for high cost medications
  • Telemedicine
  • Behavioral health
  • Medical tourism
  • Creative Rx management

The question “what have you done for me lately?” is a reflection of higher expectations driven by the necessity of mitigating continually rising healthcare costs. With the resistance to change evidenced by the entrenched health and insurance machine, employers are bearing the brunt of those costs and desperate for creative answers. The healthcare industry ignores the question at its peril.

One high impact approach for worksite clinic operators is hiding in plain site. Onsite clinics have a tremendous opportunity to impact medication cost and compliance by offering a robust medication management program. Most worksite clinics have not implemented a complete medication solution and it presents a compelling chance to answer the “what have have you done for me lately?” question. Here is the anatomy of a robust medication medication management solution:

  • Part One: onsite dispensing of prepackaged medications.
  • Part Two: home delivery of refills and an expanded formulary from the onsite model.
  • Part Three: high cost drug targeting.
  • Part Four: extended services with RPh clinical access and analytics for decision support.
  • Part Five: an integrated prescription management solution facilitated by the onsite team and encompassing the employer’s drug spend.

With a robust medication management model, the onsite clinic becomes a centerpiece in impacting one of the largest pieces of an employer’s healthcare spend.

For self-funded employers looking for creative answers from their worksite clinic partner, “what have you done for me lately?” is a plea for help. It is also a massive opportunity to partner in the truest sense of the word as employee health becomes more and more strategic. For those playing in this space, the question is not going away. The stakes are far too high. The nimble players will find creative ways to respond and evolve with the rapidly changing market. Entrenched interests trying to protect existing margins will struggle to meet the quick pace of change needed by progressive employers. Therein lies the opportunity for worksite clinics.

 

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