The Patient Experience at an Onsite Clinic and How it Differs from Traditional Care
March 21, 2019

The Patient Experience at an Onsite Clinic and How it Differs from Traditional Care

By: Healthstat

The patient lies at the heart of every successful onsite clinic program. Whether the clinic is implemented to cut claims costs, improve population health, or develop a culture of wellness (or all three!), it succeeds when impacting health at the individual level.

And often, onsite clinics excel in areas of the patient experience—cost, convenience, and holistic care—that traditional care falls short in. Tune in to learn more about the difference in care that an onsite clinic opportunity affords.

The Basics of Workplace Health

Traditional healthcare—primary care practices, urgent care centers, and emergency rooms—are often expensive, inconvenient, and impersonal experiences. Consider the reality that the average primary care visit takes roughly two hours, with only twenty minutes of that time spent with a clinician. Consider also a study from the New England Journal of Medicine that claimed those with chronic conditions receive only 56% of recommended preventive health services. When chronic diseases affect approximately 133 million Americans, it’s time to consider the ways in which an onsite clinic can bring the patient experience to the patient.

Convenience is Key

The most obvious benefit for the patient when visiting their onsite clinic is convenience. This is a difficult benefit to overstate; adherence to a treatment plan is often most troubled by patients skipping or rescheduling necessary appointments due to visit length or clinic distance. When the nearest urgent care or primary care center is half an hour away, and traffic and wait times are factored in, you’re often looking at a simple check-up that may take half of a workday. Employees often feel they can’t sacrifice that working time for an appointment—even one that’s necessary for their long-term health.

But if a clinic is onsite, the patient experience becomes a short walk down to the first floor, or a quick trip across the street, to meet with a clinician. The savings in productivity are two-fold: the patient avoids missing most of their workday to receive necessary medical care, and that medical care keeps them in top form to remain a healthy, engaged employee.

Or, perhaps, you have an otherwise healthy employee that’s come down with a sudden cough or cold. Instead of calling out sick to make an appointment across town, this patient can receive care minutes from where they work. This encourages patients to receive the care they need as soon as they’re symptomatic, instead of delaying treatment waiting for an illness to pass. In fact, that illness could get worse and even spread to others in the workplace and community. With an onsite or nearsite clinic, inconvenience is no longer a factor nor an excuse for avoiding care.

Personal Care, Improved Results

Likewise, it’s not uncommon for traditional healthcare to be described as impersonal. Whether you’re meeting with a different clinician every time you visit an urgent care, or simply don’t have the time to get to know your primary care physician, a substantial issue with long-term health improvement is the lack of a patient-provider relationship.

Picture, then, the reality of the same clinician meeting with his or her patients every visit. The visits themselves are structured to allow the time needed to discuss issues and answer questions. A patient is more likely to feel at ease, in control of their health plan, and a part of their healthy decision-making when those decisions are being made with a familiar presence (especially when that presence is only five minutes away!).

Furthermore, thanks to the integrated electronic medical records that are a part of any successful onsite clinic program (like Healthstat’s eClinicalWorks), the clinician has on hand the relevant medical information to refer to when meeting with his or her patient. It allows for more time to be spent talking with the patient about their overall health plan, including closing any gaps in care and helping to make in-network referrals as needed. The personal touch allows both patient and provider to discuss their health goals together.

And the technology doesn’t stop there: many onsite clinic vendors (like Healthstat) offer digital platforms that allow for convenient access to appointments, lab results, prescription refills, and direct clinician messaging. Healthstat’s Patient Portal is just one example of a mobile- and Internet-friendly software program that gives patients control over their health plan virtually anywhere. These programs are directly linked to the patient’s integrated (and HIPAA-secured) medical profile, meaning the clinician has immediate access to the most recent and relevant patient updates. 

Wellness Programs Galore!

One of the biggest benefits to an onsite clinic’s presence is its ability to serve as a wellness hub. In this way, the patient experience can go beyond the care received at an onsite clinic: weight management, diabetes, mental health, and financial wellness programs are just a few services that can be offered onsite or nearsite to eligible employees.

These programs extend the scope of care beyond the clinic itself. It’s this proactive, tailored approach to wellness that sees long-lasting change in population health. These programs typically specialize in personal motivation, and what’s more: you can personalize these services to best fit the needs of your employee population.

Even something as small as a five-minute survey to gauge interest in various programs can turn a run-of-the-mill clinic into a specialized patient-focused wellness hub.

In-Network Specialists

An onsite clinic can also be more than a hub for primary care services and wellness programs. Clinicians often make “warm referrals” for services that fall beyond the scope of the clinic. They can target referrals to in-network specialists, and centers of excellence as applicable. A warm referral means that critical information is shared, unnecessary duplication of services is avoided, and the specialist is better prepared when the patient arrives. For the patient, a referral to a specialist can be as simple as setting up an appointment at the end of an onsite clinic visit. They can then be greeted at their referral appointment by a specialist who already knows their circumstances.

This proximity to specialist care also broadens the scope of conversation between an onsite clinician and their patient. While the clinician themselves may not have the expertise in tackling a patient’s specialized health concern, the referral to a qualified specialist expands a patient’s care network considerably.

Continuity of Care

Perhaps the most intangible benefit of the onsite patient experience is the long-term relationship formed between patient and provider. This experience is one that emphasizes an aspect of care continuity that’s essential to long-term health improvement. Personal recognition goes a long way toward accountability, agency, and ownership of a patient’s health plan. At an onsite clinic, patients come to know and trust their provider in a way that makes their journey toward better health a personalized and trusted decision between patient and provider. And no matter what the patient’s health needs, the onsite clinician is always there to serve as a trusted part of the patient’s extended care team, making an overwhelming healthcare system seem less fragmented, more purposeful and easier to navigate.

Population wellness begins with the individual, which is why Healthstat is devoted to making the individual experience a memorable and supportive one at every one of its clinics.