What is the Difference Between Traditional Healthcare and Onsite Clinics?

Posted by Joe McErlane on Aug 27, 2018 8:30:00 AM

We’ve all seen those emails come through from coworkers and employees. You know the ones, the ones saying they’re going to be out of the office for a few hours for a doctor’s appointment. Between driving there, the inevitable waiting room wait, the actual visit, and then driving back to the office, the time adds up! And that’s just one employee. Multiply that by the other employees you have who will no doubt need to visit a doctor or clinic at some point.

How many hours are wasted in a month, in a year, or an employee’s entire tenure, on doctor’s visits? That’s not factoring in the actual cost of the doctor’s visit and the premiums both you and the employee pay to have a traditional, corporate healthcare plan.

Employee tenure wasted time.

What if there was a different way? A more convenient and cost effective way? What if employees could walk down the hallway of your office building to be seen by a physician and at a lower cost? With the ever increasing cost of healthcare, it’s no wonder companies are looking for alternatives. Employees want convenience, cost savings, and so do employers. So, what are your options?

doctor-563428_1920You’ve likely heard about onsite clinics, but might be asking yourself, “What is an onsite clinic?" According to the National Association of Worksite Health Centers, a workplace “onsite clinic” is a setting where an employer offers one or more medical and wellness services, delivered by licensed providers, to all or a portion of eligible employees and their family members.

Onsite clinics have grown in popularity over the last fifteen years. According to Springbuk, what used to be just basic occupational health and safety services offered, has expanded. A few of the services they sited that onsite clinics provide today include: 

  • Wellness Initiatives- Weight loss initiatives, health risk assessments and health education.
  • Preventative Care– Health screenings, flu shots, annual physical checkups.
  • Acute Care– Short-term treatment of illnesses such as colds, the flu, minor infections, or minor sprains and cuts.
  • Condition and Disease Management- Ongoing treatment of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • Specialty Care- Orthopedics, dietetics, physical therapy, and pharmacy.

Check out 8 common mistakes employers make it when it comes to their wellness plans! 


The Onsite Clinic Difference:


Like the name states, it is onsite. There’s no drive time, no waiting in crowded waiting rooms and unlike with a corporate healthcare plan, employees don’t have to worry about trying to determine if the physician they’re seeing is in-network or out-of-network.

  • A 2015 study by The InHouse Physicians found that patients can save up to 2 to 4 hours per visit using onsite clinics than those who have to travel off site.


Cost EffectiveThe difference b2Ft onsite clinics

According to HNI, not only does having an onsite clinic influence individual costs, it also allows employers to reduce cost per service by being able to negotiate with the health providers they select. Springbruk found that, “By adopting an onsite clinic, companies are slashing pharmaceutical bills, reducing ER visits, and reducing the overall spend on healthcare costs.”

  • In a Paladina Health study, they found that when incorporating an onsite clinic, companies also saw a 59% increase in attraction and retention of employees.


As NAWHC notes, there are several models that employers can choose from when designing their onsite program. It can be employer-managed, vendor managed, provider-managed, or a combination.

  • Onsite clinics aren’t a “one size fits all” model though. Each site’s services, staffing, and costs need to/can be customized to meet the needs of your particular organization. Flexibility you don’t often find with traditional healthcare plans.

Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to cut healthcare costs and improve your employees overall health? An onsite clinic can help you achieve those goals by connecting your employees to preventative care, education and treatment.

Traditional healthcare tends to be more reactive.

People tend to utilize the services once there’s already a problem. As listed above, the onsite clinic approach attempts to be more proactive and prevent illness by incorporating wellness programs and preventative care. With services available onsite and at a lower cost, employees are hopefully less likely to put off seeing a doctor and can avoid a minor issue becoming a more serious one.

Preventative care and education, with the implementation of wellness program could also mean fewer sick days being taken by your employees. Fewer sick days taken by employees means fewer lost days.  Paladina Health also found that by utilizing an onsite clinic, there was a 63% reduction in lost work days.

All of this considered, while there’s a number of differences between onsite clinics and corporate healthcare plans, the real difference comes down to convenience, cost savings, and overall improved health for your company and its employees. 

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Topics: Onsite Clinics