Patient engagement at on-site near-site employer health clinics August 8, 2017
An on-site or near-site clinic offers the convenience of basic healthcare services to employees and often results in cost-savings and other benefits for employers. Does the availability of an on-site or near-site employer health clinic also impact patient engagement? What does patient engagement mean for the patient, the physician, and the employer?
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) states that patient engagement can significantly impact healthcare outcomes. It further explains that patients “who are engaged as decision-makers in their care tend to be healthier and have better outcomes.”
Patient engagement not only benefits the patient, but it can also have an effect on the physician who may actually be able to save time and manage the patient’s healthcare plan more effectively when the patient is actively engaged. With these results, the employer that sponsors the on-site or near-site clinic also benefits, as the employee enjoys improved healthcare outcomes including reduced illnesses and reduced absenteeism.
So what is the relationship between the on-site or near-site clinic and patient engagement? Convenience of care is a significant factor. When an employee is able to access care on-site or near-site, that employee is more likely to become more involved in preventive care as well as decisions regarding future care. IT tools used by the clinic can also contribute to increased patient engagement. For example, when the clinic offers electronic communication for the employee to be able to ask questions or receive further instructions, the employee becomes more engaged in his or her own care.
Jonathan Spero, M.D, writing in Corporate Wellness magazine suggests that on-site and near-site clinics build “trust and relationships with members, which facilitates engagement in wellness, disease management, and patient advocacy programs driving improved outcomes and lower costs.” On-site clinics become part of the employee’s workplace, essentially, which drives an increased level of involvement that benefits patient, physician, and employer.