A lot of available information regarding onsite clinics speaks to the company regarding the options and what things will be like for them as they consider implementing the clinic. But what is it like for the employees, the patients, that will be using the clinic services? As an employee of a company implementing an onsite clinic, you may have some concerns of your own. Here are some things you can expect from your experience as an onsite clinic patient.
Convenience - Access Your Providers on Your Terms
Your healthcare provider is just down the hall from where you spend the majority of your time during the week, so the accessibility of an onsite clinic is unmatchable. Since an onsite clinic exclusively caters to you and your coworkers (and potentially your families), the overall patient population is typically smaller than most outside primary care clinics. Therefore, wait times are much shorter and people aren't typically late for their appointments so things tend to stay on track throughout the day.
The close proximity of an onsite clinic also means you'll have to take less time off to go and see your healthcare provider. You can use your PTO for actual, enjoyable time off, or at least not just to go see your doctor. You could potentially even fit your appointment in on your lunch break.
Personal - Your Wellness is Top Priority
An employer that offers an onsite clinic to employees may have several reasons why they do it, but typically employee satisfaction, attraction, and retention are near the top. This means they tend to set it up with the best interests and needs of you, the employee, top of mind. This usually plays out in care offerings that are customized to the your healthcare requirements. They should also be interested in your ongoing feedback and willing to pivot if needs change or aren't being met.
The care that you receive in an onsite clinic will also be very personalized. Not only because your employer has attempted to staff the clinic with personnel who are a good fit for the employees, but because the access to care is so convenient, you should be able to visit your doctor more regularly and get ahead of or stay on top of any health issues that may arise. You can develop a great relationship with your primary care provider and really work on building trust and understanding. When treatment is necessary, you can come up with an ongoing treatment plan rather than a quick fix.
Along with your primary care physician, onsite clinics typically also include additional wellness personnel and supplemental services to help you stay your healthiest self, such as wellness coaches, physical therapists, a masseuse, or a fitness facility. Click here to learn about about the quality of care at an onsite clinic.
Savings - Lower Cost, Better Outcomes
A lot of employers are interested in offering onsite clinics to their workforce because it will save the company money over high-cost insurance plans, but the potential individual impact to employees and the amount you can save is typically even greater. Onsite clinics usually offer services to employees either free or at a highly discounted rate, so not only will you save on travel time and be able to keep your PTO, you'll also keep your money in your pocket instead of paying it all to expensive premiums and deductibles.
There is a disturbing trend in health clinics of today being understaffed, overbooked, and utilizing a fee-for-service payment model: the more services and tests they run on patients, the more they will be paid. This encourages unnecessary and costly testing and procedures, and doesn't put your wellness as the top priority. Because of the overbooked nature of the providers at these clinics, you don't get a lot of one-on-one time with your doctor and they may be more prone to referring you out to expensive specialists for additional superfluous testing and treatments.
Onsite clinics tend to aim to keep care in-house and patient-focused. They don't usually use the fee-for-service model so your providers will be concentrating on your overall health and helping to come up with a maintenance plan rather than just testing and reacting.
Concerns You May Have
Your specific, individual concerns are probably best able to be addressed directly by your HR department, but here are a few concerns that employees tend to have when deciding whether to utilize their employer-provided health facility.
Will my information still be confidential?
Some people are concerned that utilizing an employer-provided health facility will automatically allow their employer direct access to their medical records. This is absolutely not the case. The medical providers in onsite or near-site clinics still adhere to all HIPAA requirements including doctor-patient confidentiality. If your employer were to gain access to your personal records, both they and the medical professionals would be breaking the law.
What if the onsite clinic can't meet my needs or I'd like to continue seeing my current provider?
An onsite clinic should be set up with the needs of the employee workforce in mind, so if you have requirements that aren't being met, you should let your employer know so they can make changes to the services provided. In the meantime, they should have a referral system to utilize in cases where they are unable to provide a service on site. You should also have an opportunity to opt out of the onsite clinic and continue seeing your regular provider through an insurance offering. However, keep in mind, you may be able to save quite a bit if you switch to an onsite provider.