Worksite Health Services: A Nice Benefit or a True Health and Financial Value? - Cover

Worksite Health Services: A Nice Benefit or a True Health and Financial Value?

During the making of the Worksite Health Services 2019 report, I spoke with an HR leader who told me, "I love the onsite clinic! I just wish I could prove the value of it to my CFO." Employers often love and rave about the benefits of having an onsite or near site clinic, but proving the actual financial savings and true health improvements is really hard to do.

As KLAS has discussed in previous reports, worksite health services firms provide ongoing healthcare services to companies to promote employee health, productivity, and wellness.

There is no question that these services are nice—employees like receiving healthcare at either no cost or a reduced cost, and employers like having an appealing factor that further differentiates their company from others. The more interesting question related to worksite health services is whether they actually provide health and financial value to organizations. This new report digs into this question, as well as other questions, and aims to provide clarity around the merit of these services beyond just being a great benefit.

Achieving and Tracking Tangible Outcomes

Part of the attraction of third-party worksite health services is that instead of having to become experts in healthcare or trying to learn how to provide clinical healthcare services, employers can rely on a firm that knows and understands the healthcare world. Even with that benefit (and perhaps especially with that), employers still want to know that there are proven healthcare and financial outcomes to these services. They may have a vague notion that they are achieving outcomes, but without comprehensive reports and methods for tracking outcomes, it is difficult for employers to find tangible things that prove the value of worksite health services.

For example, let’s compare these comments collected for the report:

“[The vendor] does a really nice job of providing data that can answer all of the questions for my organization. . . . With that, we measure our savings, such as how much we are spending versus how much something would have cost us in the open market. I can show how much these centers provide for our cost savings on our benefits plan.”

“[The vendor] does a good job of telling us what services they deliver. They don’t do a good job of telling us what the financial impact and benefit are of the services delivered.”

As demonstrated in the first comment, when employers have access to specific data, they can demonstrate to their companies the savings created by their worksite health clinic. But as in the second comment, without that data, employers are left wondering about the health and financial benefits of their worksite health clinic and questioning the need to provide it. Healthcare is not just about the (financial) bottom line, but rising healthcare costs continue to put pressure on employers, who in turn take measures to reduce costs. Employers also express a strong need to be able to achieve and track tangible outcomes will continue to be a necessary aspect of worksite health services.

tangible outcomes vs strength of partnership

 Partnering and Envisioning the Future

Unsurprisingly, a worksite health firm’s ability to partner with customers can be a major differentiating factor. Customers are concerned about not only whether firms will take care of them but also whether those firms will have their back and go above and beyond.

One of the outcomes that employers want to see is employees actually using the services offered in the on-site clinic, and firms can play an integral role in achieving that outcome by partnering with the company around health efforts. Employers don’t want firms to just provide services; they want firms to proactively share ideas, engage employees, and improve health.

Worksite health firms can certainly do well at providing day-to-day services and having good patient relations, but some firms and employers are beginning to move beyond the basics of worksite health services and envision the future of this space, which could include more on-demand services and telehealth-related services for off-site employees.

An area of exploration and increasing interest for employers is finding the best way to engage employees in their health outside of visits and how to most effectively motivate employees to take ownership of their health and wellness. As with other questions in the worksite health space, this question is still being answered.

Finding Value

The whole premise of employer-sponsored healthcare is that it should be preventative; that is the underlying incentive for self-insured employers. Worksite health clinics certainly are not replacing and should not replace the operating room or other healthcare spaces. These clinics are intended to help employees be healthy and catch issues early on so that they can avoid having to go through unnecessary visits, procedures, and operations—the things that often have very high costs associated with them.

Can worksite health services impact healthcare? If done correctly, they absolutely can have an impact and should help lower healthcare costs. Worksite health clinics aren’t going to do everything for employers, but those clinics can be an important element within an organization. I am excited to watch this space as health and financial outcomes become more visible and impactful.

To see the full story of worksite health firms’ performances, readers should check out the full report. I also encourage readers to share suggestions for future themes they would like KLAS to explore.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock, bnenin