Expanding an onsite employee clinic to a patient-centered medical home
Mercer’s Worksite Medical Clinics 2012 Survey Report confirmed what we’ve already observed: Employers are expanding the role of onsite clinics with cost control as a primary driver. “Worksite clinics are evolving as employers adapt them to serve new purposes — for example, to provide a base for employee health management programs,” so says the report. For many clinics, this requires shifting to a more balanced portfolio of services, including primary and sometimes dependent care.
With this addition, the clinic has the basic framework of a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCHM) and becomes the entity through which employees access services beyond the clinic setting. As part of an integrated effort — which includes the integration of other HR-directed wellness programs, community-based providers and specialists, local hospitals and health systems, laboratories, pharmacies, insurers and registries — the clinic takes a leading role at the center of employee health and wellness.
The first prerequisite: Interoperable IT
Of course, an essential element in this model’s success is IT — the technology and infrastructure required for secure data exchange and care coordination between providers. The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) included “Ten Recommended Health IT Tools” in its 2013 Managing Populations, Maximizing Technology report, and the list bears repeating.
- Electronic health records
- Patient registries
- Health Information Exchange
- Risk stratification
- Automated outreach
- Referral tracking
- Patient portals
- Remote patient monitoring
- Advanced population analytics
The PCPCC report also stresses the importance of utilizing health IT products with:
- “out of the box” features enabling manipulation of data to stratify lists
- reminders to occur in the future
- details to track performance measures longitudinally
- the ability to identify sub-populations and easily manipulate and export data in multiple forms
Readers still using OSHA-focused occ health software are probably weeping softly, ready to throw in the towel. C’mon. HIE integration? Patient portals? Automated outreach? All this in an integrated employee health management solution?
Yes. Yes. Ten times, yes.
Our Enterprise Health solution matches up well with this list and provides the added benefit of interoperability across systems, devices, and software outside the enterprise operation. The services most likely to be added to clinic offerings — health screenings, immunizations, urgent care for non-occupational injuries, and chronic-disease management — are all supported in the Enterprise Health solution as well.
Portals and portable personal health records add another layer of support, providing employees with easy access to online tools and health data.
“It is clear that health IT infrastructure will enhance connections between traditional health providers and community organizations and offers a network for support for patients and families to improve their care experience,” the report notes.
How does the expanded care of the PCMH model benefit employers? Improved access to and engagement with holistic health programming translate to a healthier workforce, reducing the overall cost of health benefits by minimizing outside medical expenses. Enhanced productivity is another plus.
“Companies see a reduction in absenteeism because employees are more likely to visit the clinic when care is needed, aiding in prevention and early detection of issues,” says Rae Anne Beaudry of The Horton Group.
She also notes the marked reduction in time away from work for healthcare concerns, saying, “The average amount of time an individual spends an at onsite clinic for a regular appointment is 30 to 45 minutes, which is significantly less time than a typical visit to a medical professional.”