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On-Site Care Motivated by Productivity, Cost Issues

March 24, 2008
Related Topics: Time Management, Future Workplace, Health and Wellness, Latest News
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Among companies that have set up on-site health care clinics, the most common motivation was a desire to improve worker productivity, a survey shows.

The survey, released March 19 by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, compared the use of such facilities by early and recent adopters, with early adopters defined as those companies that set up clinics before 2000.

Researchers found that, among both recent and early adopters, 67 percent were motivated by an interest in enhancing the productivity of their workers. In addition, reducing medical costs is a growing priority, cited by 70 percent of recent adopters but only 49 percent of early adopters.

Other factors included improving access to care—44 percent of recent adopters and 33 percent of early adopters—and improving quality of care, which was cited by 30 percent of recent adopters and 12 percent of early adopters.

The survey results are based on responses from 84 human resources and health benefits managers at organizations that have at least 1,000 employees and operate on-site health care centers.

Immunizations, screenings and urgent care treatment are the most common services offered by on-site health clinics: 81 percent of recent adopters and 91 percent of early adopters offer immunizations; 78 percent of recent adopters and 88 percent of early adopters offer screenings; and 63 percent of recent adopters and 75 percent of early adopters offer urgent care.

There were disparities in other areas, however. Of the long-established clinics, 44 percent offer physical therapy and 46 percent offer mental health or employee assistance program counseling, while among recent adopters, those percentages drop to 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively. But 44 percent of recent adopters offer pharmacy benefits, compared with 23 percent of early adopters.

The study also showed that significant gaps exist in the integration of data between the on-site health center and other health and productivity initiatives. Thirty-nine percent of surveyed companies link their disease management programs with their on-site health centers, and 30 percent link the centers to their nurse lines. Early adopters of on-site clinics, however, are much more likely to integrate their centers with their EAP—65 percent do so—than recent adopters, at 22 percent.

All on-site health clinics surveyed are struggling to measure the return on investment from such clinics: 68 percent of early adopters and 52 percent of recent adopters either don’t measure or don’t know their return on investment.

Filed by Kristin Gunderson Hunt of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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