What the research says about site clinics

Employers continue to offer on-site clinics to their workforce as an added benefit and as a way to cut healthcare costs. Forbes reports that 29% “of companies with 5,000 or more workers offered an on-site or nearby health clinic in 2014, up from 24% in 2012.” Forbes adds that, in 2016, over 40 companies listed on “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” provided on-site health care for their employees.

Research conducted by Louise C. O’Keefe, PhD, CRNP, and Faye Anderson, DNS, RN, NEA-BC, and published in The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, indicates that these on-site clinics provide a number of benefits to employers and employees alike. Their study discusses several ways in which on-site healthcare is making a difference:

  • Decreasing costs. Employees who have access to on-site healthcare generally pay a low, or no, co-pay. For the employer, the costs of absenteeism due to illness can be reduced when employees have more convenient access to a healthcare facility.
  • Increasing preventive care. Convenience is also a significant factor in employees accessing preventive care and immunizations.
  • Increasing ability to manage chronic conditions. On-site clinics can coordinate with an employee’s primary care provider for more effective management of that employee’s chronic condition, resulting in improved care and reduced expenses.
  • Increasing diagnostic screening and early detection. Providers at on-site clinics have been successful with encouraging employees to comply with established guidelines for screenings. The research suggests this effect “is mainly attributed to a better patient–provider relationship, likely influenced by having the provider and employee working in the same place.”
  • Establishing wellness programs. On-site wellness programs have been shown to “positively influence employee morale, retention, and productivity.”
  • Facilitating trusting relationships among employees. When a healthcare clinic is located on the workplace site, the providers and staff tend to have a better understanding of the needs of that company’s employees. Physicians are able to communicate with patients, guiding them through recovery plans designed to “get the employee back to health and back to work.”

The research has shown that on-site healthcare clinics provide benefits for employers and employees. The employee saves money, enjoys convenient access to healthcare, and tends to be more involved in preventive care. The employer also can see a positive return on investment (ROI), both financially and in terms of reduced absenteeism and healthier employees.