Population Health 101
January 29, 2019

Population Health 101

By: Healthstat

How Healthy Are Your Employees?

You may have read our previous feature on “Questions to Consider” with an onsite clinic program, you may be ready to take the jump and implement an onsite clinic program. If so, know that your population’s current health is just as vital to selecting a vendor as that vendor’s own performance guarantees.

Here’s what you should know about your own population’s health before implementation. And remember, it’s a smart idea to partner with an onsite health and wellness provider in answering these questions. Assessing a population’s health is a substantial task with a lot of data to analyze.

1. What’s the current health status?

Different workplace populations have different approaches to healthiness. You might have a company of healthy and active employees who are interested in lowering their medical costs and engaging in preventive health.

Or, you might have a population that struggles with chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, or heart disease. Both populations can benefit from the value of an onsite clinic program, but it’s important to know what your employees will be most interested in having with such a program.

2. What are current health behaviors?

Quit Smoking

Does your workplace feature a lot of fast-food eaters, smokers, and post-work drinkers? It’s well known that health habits (good and bad) are an accurate predictor of overall health and utilization of health services.

Insight in this regard can assist in choosing programs like tobacco cessation and nutrition services for your employees. These health behaviors can also dictate long-term health costs, because they most often occur in the top 20% of at-risk employees—or in other words, employees that contribute to the most healthcare spend in an organization.

3. What’s the current healthcare utilization?

Whether you have employees that regularly visit a clinician for preventive health screenings or a population that has trouble filling prescriptions, it’s important to know what current utilization looks like, and how an onsite clinic program can boost numbers. 

Some questions to consider: Are people using timely and appropriate ambulatory care? Or are there unnecessary visits to urgent care and emergency rooms? These populations tend to get the most out of an onsite clinic program, where preventive and accessible care meets employees where they work (literally).

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4. What are the demographics?

Are your employees mostly baby boomers nearing retirement age?  Or millennials with young children at home?  Having a clear idea of the demographics at your organization can help in determining the most appropriate wellness services to offer.

And remember: health literacy plays a substantial role in the success (or failure) of an onsite clinic program. Knowing the health literacy of your employee population—their readiness and ability to understand and make use of healthcare-related information—is an important step in designing a wellness program that best suits their needs.

5. What are overall stress/anxiety levels?

Too often is mental health considered a secondary concern in population health. Chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes are at the forefront of many wellness programs, and yet diseases like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are often left in the shadows to the detriment of many of your employees.

It’s important to ask about the mental healthiness of your workplace population, because there are solutions to support mental health. This includes counseling services, stress management classes, and even courses on financial wellness.

Asking these questions will give you a solid metric in choosing an onsite vendor and designing an appropriate wellness program. To condense these ideas to a finer point, consider broaching the following question with your company’s stakeholders:

6. What’s the overall sentiment toward health and wellness? 

This is always the most important question to consider because it reveals the readiness and applicability of an onsite clinic program for your workplace. If you have a workplace that desires to be healthy but may not have the tools to enact such change, an effective onsite clinic program can be a great way to put a positive spin on healthy living.

If you’ve already managed to collect data on the above questions, you might be wondering what to do with it. If you’ve partnered with a health and wellness provider, they can help you to parse through the information and decide what it means for your onsite clinic program.

 The good news is that the right vendor will come to the table with a personalized health and wellness program that perfectly fits the needs and desires of your workplace. Ideally, each program and service will see strong utilization because it’s exactly what your employees want in a wellness program. 

How to Personalize Your Onsite Clinic

There are various ways to customize your onsite clinic program to best benefit your employees. After collecting population health data from the above questions, consider approaching the following points with your stakeholders:

The primary objective in implementing our onsite clinic is… 

It’s important to establish clear objectives—like offering convenient access, improving company morale, or lowering medical costs—so that the implementation of the clinic will match these goals. 

The types of care our onsite clinic will offer include…

Wellness and preventive care exams, primary care, lab work, dispensaries, and occupational health are just a few types of care that can be specialized to best fit your population needs. And consider cutting-edge tech like virtual care and telemedicine that may reduce absenteeism and emergency room visits.

Our clinic is staffed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant and will be accessible to the patients.

Population Health

Staffing your clinic depends on what kind of services you plan to offer. Whether it’s a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant, each option provides pros and cons to the onsite clinic model that’s worth considering with your stakeholders.

Relatedly, who you provide access to will likely differ based on the size of needs of your population. Do dependents, spouses, or retirees get the same level of access as eligible employees. Is more than one clinic location necessary to reach all eligible employees? Asking these questions at the start of an onsite clinic program pays major dividends once the program opens its doors.

Covering Your Bases

In asking about your workplace’s health habits, you pave the way to better understanding of what your onsite clinic program will look like. This gives you the option to discuss and plan primary objectives, types of care, and questions of staffing and accessibility.

Investing in an onsite clinic for your organization sets the precedent of a healthy, active, and engaged workforce. Invoke the questions above and set up a strategy that will work for you.

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