Back in the day, way back in the day, workplace healthcare was focused on treating injuries and illnesses and returning employees to work. Company doctors were paid for their services by the workers themselves, either in the form of a cash payment at the time of treatment or by having the healthcare services deducted from their payroll. The company’s intent in providing a company doctor was primarily productivity.
Fast forward to today’s employers and into the future of workplace wellness. An expansion is taking place, both in terms of the types of services provided as well as the overall focus of the employer in providing those services. Productivity is still a primary concern and many worksite clinics offer programs designed to reduce absenteeism and prevent presenteeism (showing up for work when ill). However, the range and types of services provided at worksite clinics are becoming more holistic.
Wellness programs now include mental health services as well as lifestyle management programs. Workplace healthcare is expanding to include dentistry, obstetrics, physical therapy, and other clinical services that go far beyond the typical flu shots and well checks typically seen in a worksite clinic.
Employers are taking steps, literally, to help employees improve their overall health and fitness, rather than simply treat illnesses. More companies are offering “business class care,” including fitness classes, yoga, and dietician services.
Worksite clinics are also taking advantage of technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) that can help their providers track patient history and be more proactive in their treatment. Employees have access to their own health information through their EHR and tend to become more actively engaged in their healthcare programs. They enjoy the ability to communicate with their physician electronically, reducing the need to take time out of their workday to get answers or further clarifications.
The future of worksite clinic is focused on overall employee health and happiness, rather than simply treating injuries and illnesses, enabling employers to use the benefit to attract and retain quality talent in today’s competitive marketplace.