Employers plan to expand their use of on-site and near-site employer health clinics

The number of employers offering a healthcare clinic as a benefit to their employees is expanding, as is the scope of services those clinics offer. A survey conducted by Towers Watson found that many employers who already provide on-site or near-site health clinics plan to focus more on the role the clinics play in employee wellness by expanding the services they provide.

Two-thirds of the employers responding to the survey said that by 2018 they “expect to expand or enhance the already broad services they offer.” Survey participants also said they “expect their centers to play an even greater role — above and beyond their current use — in the management and coordination of employee wellness.”

Many on-site and near-site employer health clinics offer “business class” care, in addition to the basics of flu shots, immunizations, and well checks. In fact, according to the survey, “wellness programs are already available at 86% of centers, and lifestyle coaching to promote and reinforce behavior changes is currently offered at nearly two-thirds (63%).”

Expanded services at employer healthcare clinics include pharmacy services and telemedicine. The survey found that in 2015 “half of employer-sponsored health centers now offer some type of pharmacy services, a considerable increase from 38% in 2012.” In addition, “more than one-third (35%) offer telemedicine services, with another 12% planning to in the next two years.”

On-site and near-site clinics that use electronic health records (EHRs) also offer employees more access to their own medical records as well as the opportunity to communicate with their providers at their own convenience. When employees have greater access to convenient healthcare services, they are more likely to take advantage of those services, improving outcomes for both employee and employer.

As employers measure their return on investment (ROI) in on-site and near-site healthcare clinics, they are finding positive results in reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and healthier employees. Expanding services to include lifestyle management and fitness programs, for example, adds to that ROI and to their own bottom line.