Employers with the most effective onsite health clinics have given considerable thought when mapping out the value proposition for employees. While this will look different for every employer, it is certainly important to offer a wide enough range of services to ensure the clinic truly is useful for employees. Structure the fee for service in a way that makes it cost effective to get treatment onsite. Scheduling should be quick and easy to provide the best possible experience for employees (don’t underestimate the value of this as an incentive!).
Some employees may worry initially that the employer will have access to their medical information. Employers with the greatest success have addressed this out of the gate and assured employees medical providers will be the only individuals dealing with this information, and that they are legally and ethically obligated to keep this confidential.
“If you build it, they will come” is not a phrase that rings true in employee benefits. The companies that have realized the greatest ROI have been effective at getting the word out about services offered and the benefits for utilizing an onsite health care clinic. This can’t be a one-time communication project. While some employees may begin using the onsite facility right away, others may take longer to buy in. Employees should be reminded of its availability and benefits year-round with communications.
Management commitment to building a healthier workforce with the onsite clinic is essential. Having a message or two come from the top shows that a company is serious about wellness and can help build enthusiasm. Beyond paying lip service, high-level managers should actually utilize the onsite health clinic and participate in the wellness programming themselves.
Every employee population is different, and the most effective onsite care programs select medical professionals that will work well with your population. Look at your demographics — male vs. female, age, type of occupation, etc. — and select a clinician that will work well and appeal to this group.
There is no universally accepted method for demonstrating wellness program ROI, so discussing the desired results with your benefits adviser and vendors is essential in the early phases of exploring an onsite strategy. The results you measure should map to your understanding of how onsite care fits with your larger goals.
Onsite care clinics generally take a large investment of time and resources in the first year or two, so there often is a lag before employers see the desired return. Employee turnover also can impact your return — people have to stay with your company to realize savings in long-term medical costs.
There are “hard” and “soft” ROI measurements to can consider. Hard dollar savings would be savings in direct medical costs and avoidance of more costly services (e.g., ER visits), while “soft” savings may include productivity gains, reduced absenteeism, or employee recruiting advantages.
Because of the difficulty in isolating and measuring the benefits, some companies choose to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace clinics by comparing actual costs to projected costs. If they come in below the benchmarked trend, that indicates success in the initiative. Others may look at the impact on biometric data and health risk factors over time.