Starting an Onsite Clinic Program: Questions to Consider
4 MINUTE READ
You’ve started to look at the benefits of an onsite clinic. You’ve done some initial research, and you’re thinking that your business is ready to make the jump into an onsite care program. But, you still have questions. We’ve gone ahead and asked these same questions ourselves to keep you ahead of the curve.
Employers with onsite clinic programs measure clinic success in various ways. Financial savings, health improvements, and employee satisfaction typically comprise the categories of program success, and these categories are integral in designing the right kind of clinic program for your employees.
If your stakeholders were to fill out the table above, what would it look like?
First things first: Is now the right time?
If you feel the need to improve employee health, control costs and provide a great benefit, then the answer is yes. The right onsite vendor will assuage fears of cost, complications, and timeframes by designing the best solution for you. Opening a clinic is a big project, but it’s a manageable one that pays major dividends in both employee health and your bottom line. This is where an onsite vendor serves as a partner to you and your population health needs.
For example, instead of an onsite clinic, you might be considering a shared clinic or nearsite clinic. Instead of physicians, you might be considering a staff of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Maybe you want the option for a medication dispensary and physical therapy.
Maybe you’re not sure what you want! That’s okay. The right vendor can help in making these decisions, as well as what you’ll need to be ready. They’ll have turnkey solutions that require only your passion for improving employee health and medical costs.
What is my workplace trying to improve?
Just as employers can measure clinic success in various ways, the stakeholders in your project also have different priorities. Some may want to build a culture of health. Others may be concerned with closing gaps in care and improving chronic condition management. And still others may hope to reduce healthcare costs and workplace absenteeism.
The good news is that the right kind of vendor can fulfill these priorities simultaneously, as what’s good for one group is often beneficial to the rest.
Some of these goals can be directly measured and reported on, while others may be measured indirectly. But the point is that your clinic vendor will know exactly what metrics you’re looking to improve.
How do I choose the right vendor?
The most important aspect in choosing a vendor is asking what they’re bringing to the table. The fact of the matter is that you shouldn’t need to have a lot to get started with the right vendor. It’s the vendor that’s coming to you with options to consider, a plan for execution, and improvements to guarantee. And remember that success is not dictated by your vendor but by your stakeholders. It’s the vendor’s job to meet that success.
Practically speaking, your vendor should have a solid track record for opening clinics on time and on budget. Ask your prospective vendor upfront how they involve employees during implementation. Ask them who will be responsible for project management. Consider your own timeline for implementation and ensure it comes into conversation with your vendor.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of getting a clinic off the ground smoothly. An unprepared vendor results in delays and mismanagement to your clinic opening, which is often not forgotten by your employees. This in turn can have compounding effects on the success of the clinic itself.
Keep in mind the factors below when considering a vendor, and don’t hesitate to ask these questions directly:
- Do you have the capability to give the right kind of advice in both designing and implementing the right kind of clinic for our stakeholders?
- Do you have the flexibility to conform to our needs and wants with your clinic model?
- Do you have the reliability to manage expectations and timelines?
And remember, a valuable onsite vendor partner is one that knows how to act as a healthcare hub for your employees. An effective onsite clinic is about more than just occupational and primary healthcare. A capable partner can streamline services, reduce waste, and boost employee loyalty by owning its role as the healthcare central station.
How do I know my vendor will deliver?
Of course, it’s possible for vendors to make promises about capability, reliability, and flexibility, and then fail to deliver on them. Fortunately, onsite clinic program vendors can be validated by highly respected independent agencies. Here are some accreditations to look for:
- AAAHC: The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care provides an external, independent review of a health care delivery organization against nationally-accepted standards and its own policies, procedures, processes and outcomes. In other words: Is the organization delivering safe, high-quality patient care in the way that it says it will? AAAHC is a mark of quality medical care.
- NCQA: The National Committee for Quality Assurance uses industry-leading, evidence-based standards to assess key areas of health promotion. It looks at how wellness programs are implemented in the workplace, how services such as coaching can empower participants to boost their health and how private health information is protected. NCQA is a mark of quality wellness programming. When combined with performance reporting, it validates that a vendor consistently follows evidence-based processes and demonstrates health improvements.
- SSAE-16 Soc 2: Certification in this auditing standard for service organizations demonstrates current and historic data security controls. It is a mark of data safety and the integrity of an organization’s processes.
A Partnership in Health
We keep using the term partner to describe your onsite vendor. That’s because the right kind of vendor relationship will feel exactly like it: a partnership. When talking with prospective vendors, find out what performance guarantees they offer. These can be based on financial savings, health improvements, or employee satisfaction (see the table on page 1).
If you choose to implement data integration and/or data sharing with your vendor, they should have the infrastructure and expertise to handle the workload. Additionally, your vendor should be able to demonstrate reliability in working with your insurance plan.
Implementing an onsite clinic program can feel like a tall order. But it’s a manageable, stress-free project when you’re partnered with the right vendor. Whether your long-term goals are financial savings, health improvements, employee satisfaction or all three, make sure you’re asking the right questions in selecting an onsite clinic partner.
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