Onsite care facilities offer a range of healthcare services to employees. They may focus on treating acute injuries or managing chronic diseases like diabetes.
The facilities can be staffed with a physician or support staff, such as health coaches and athletic trainers. Each onsite clinic or wellness center is built to meet the unique needs of its client organization.
Types of Onsite Care Facilities
Onsite care facilities can offer various healthcare services, from basic primary care to urgent care. They can be a full-time onsite clinic on the worksite, staffed by nurse practitioners or registered nurses, or a nearby clinic off the worksite but close enough to easily reach during the workday.
Participants interviewed for the research reported varying degrees of awareness of the scope of treatment at onsite clinics, hours of operation, and reservation methods. They also had varying levels of familiarity with the onsite clinic medical staff. Some participants were very familiar with the onsite clinics and their services. In contrast, others needed to be made aware and learned about onsite health clinics through their coworkers or outside sources.
The clinics can provide medical, health, and wellness services to employees of a single employer or multiple employers as part of a shared-services agreement. They can be a dedicated onsite workplace wellness center or, in some cases, an onsite component of a larger community health center or medical office building.
Onsite care offers benefits, including measurable health improvements and savings, enhanced employee satisfaction and retention, and increased productivity.
Often described as an entry point to the healthcare system, primary care facilities are designed to act as a central hub for all medical records and as a patient’s central point of contact for their overall healthcare. This includes a range of services that include preventative health measures like immunizations, screening for common diseases and injuries, treatment of existing conditions, and referrals to specialists.
This approach is different from other forms of healthcare, as it takes a holistic view of an individual’s total well-being and aims to improve their overall health outcomes. This often involves a sustained relationship between a clinician and a patient that develops over time, creating a partnership built on trust and responsibility. It also allows providers to better tailor their advice and interventions to patients’ needs.
Some studies have shown that people who see a family physician or other primary care doctor are likelier to report good health. One study found that the adequacy of primary care delivery characteristics was associated with lower mortality and reduced disparities between socially deprived and less disadvantaged populations. Other studies have looked at various policy features that can contribute to a person’s health status, including attempts to distribute physician resources equitably across the country, universal or near-universal financial coverage, and low or no copayments for health services.
Urgent care centers (also known as immediate care or walk-in clinics) provide a convenient, easily accessible alternative to hospital emergency departments for treating illnesses and injuries that your regular physician cannot treat within a reasonable timeframe but are not life-threatening. Patients often choose urgent care over the ER because it offers shorter wait times and is less expensive.
A recent systematic mapping review and narrative synthesis found that while many patient-based factors influence emergency and urgent care access, multiple independent risk factors impact the entire healthcare system and its operations. These include aging populations with complex needs, socioeconomic factors that affect access to primary health care, and changes in behavior influencing how people use different parts of the health care system.
Employees with a more comprehensive, integrated onsite care model with access to primary and urgent care may be more likely to make wiser choices that save them and their employers money over time. For example, if an employee manages their diabetes and avoids frequent visits to the emergency department, it could significantly lower healthcare costs. This is because the employee can control their usage patterns and avoid spikes in utilization with episodic care, such as a visit to the ER.
For patients who prefer to avoid the hassle of visiting an onsite clinic, telehealth facilities offer remote care. These services enable patients to connect with their healthcare providers via various digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and computers or specialized hardware, such as carts equipped with cameras that allow the user to interact with the virtual provider.
Telehealth can treat acute or mild ailments, manage chronic diseases, and serve as the first point of contact for workplace health and safety needs. Many telehealth tools are available to meet employees’ needs, including asynchronous video visits, which enable patients and providers to communicate online without traveling to an onsite clinic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, asynchronous video was an invaluable tool that allowed employees to stay home and see their healthcare providers for treatment of minor ailments. It also increased communication between healthcare providers and helped reduce patient no-shows because of busy schedules and cancellations or forgetfulness. Through remote patient monitoring, patients can also use telehealth to monitor their health, such as blood pressure and glucose levels, which transmit data to the healthcare provider for evaluation. It also allows patients to see their healthcare provider for further testing or prescriptions. In addition, asynchronous video can help improve access to healthcare in areas with limited availability of physicians.