Employers are uniquely positioned to care about both the health and productivity of their workforces. Mercer, a benefits consultancy, found that 29 percent of employers with 5,000 or more associates offer on-site clinics, (or as we call them, Health Centers), up from 24 percent in 2013. Studies continue to show the focus on employee health among companies.
With the pressures of primary care in the community continuing to be a challenge, many employers look to solve the problem of access, health care experience and convenience on their own with on-site investments. Over time, these investments have evolved from basic occupational medicine to urgent care, primary care and even full medical homes. Many employers take the experience factor even further and provide additional related services that their employees want most, such as chiropractic care or physical therapy.
Employers and employees see great benefit to having an on-site health center. The value to the employees comes in the form of convenience, experience and outcomes. Convenience matters for a busy workforce that is balancing a number of priorities with limited time. The experience is critical to drive adoption and contributes to a highly satisfied workforce. Combine those things with out-of-pocket savings (depending on the health plan design) and positive health outcomes, and the value becomes substantial for employees.
The value to the employer comes in the form of the outcomes – financial, experiential and clinical. Financial outcomes can certainly come in the form of controlled health plan expenditures. Employers want to spend health plan dollars on the appropriate care and have a high quality care team to holistically manage that care. They are tired of spending more and more money every year and not seeing the impact of that investment. Without a good experience, you can’t drive sustainable adoption. Experience is important, especially in facilities that are looking to create a medical home environment, where the patient, or person, is at the center of the design. This is critical to attracting and retaining high quality talent, as well as driving an engaged and happy workforce. Clinical outcomes are important for a variety of reasons, including reduced sick time, better engagement, and a more productive workforce. Ultimately, we think workforces are at their best when they feel their best.
A wide variety of employers trust Cerner to operate their on-site health centers. The way we work with our clients is highly collaborative. We design each health center facility, scope and staffing model to align to the organization’s needs and culture. We recently added five new health centers, including one for the State of New Mexico workforce, to our list of more than 40 health center clients.
On-site care provides a unique opportunity to test and prove innovations in care models that put the person at the center of their health and care. Perhaps one of the most important elements is the fact that employer-sponsored, on-site care has a very different business model than a community-based provider. Volume is not critical; quality, holistic care is. The model of person-centric care allows care teams to treat the person, not just the patient.
On-site care should not be siloed care. Importantly, coordination with community providers is critical. This is an area very important to Cerner as we are dedicated to interoperability and population health management. We are creating an environment where on-site care and community care work together to provide a superior health care ecosystem for the benefit of the person.