With On-Site Clinics on the Rise, Employers See Productivity and Cost Savings

With On-Site Clinics on the Rise, Employers See Productivity and Cost Savings

On-site clinics are increasingly popular in workplaces, and for good reason. Not only do employees need to monitor their physical and ergonomic health, employers save money by protecting their workers.

Benefits and wellness leaders are increasingly adding on-site natural care clinics to workplaces as a way to further drive a culture of health and wellbeing among employees. Growth forecasts for worksite health offerings are bullish, with the biggest growth area being mid-sized employers (200-500 employees). As the popularity of this offering increases—and employers of all sizes, employees and health professionals work together to focus on prevention—employees experience positive health outcomes and decreased medical expenses.

Designed to reduce employee injury but also enhance employee health and increase productivity, on-site clinics have been known to bridge the gap between information and taking action in one's health, often resulting in reduced stress, improved mental, movement and physical wellbeing.

On-site clinics come in several forms and most recently include complementary and integrative healthcare such as chiropractic, educational and motivational services; balance and workstation assessment; and chair massages. Employees are empowered to engage as the provider, and offering the services has no out-of-pocket cost to them.

While the costs of risk management related to employee health and wellbeing are typically regarded as business overheads, business, operations, benefits and wellness leaders should consider the positive impacts of this long-term investment.

Reduced Healthcare Costs and Injuries

According to a recent survey, disabling workplace injuries cost U.S. companies more than $55 billion per year. Musculoskeletal conditions and poor health habits drive nearly 33 percent of these costs. Workers in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, transportation, retail and professional and business services are at the greatest risk of these injuries. It is in these industries where the repetitive nature of the job can have a negative impact on workers’ physical health.

For example, in production facilities where employees stand all day, lift heavy objects or move supplies from one place to the next, incorrect movements can cause severe injury. Additionally, aides and caregivers in long-term care facilities are often lifting and moving the weight of their patients, and if the weight isn't distributed properly or there is an unexpected movement by the resident, sprain, strain or spinal disc injuries can be a result. These injuries often result in both short- and long-term recovery time off for employees.

With on-site care, practitioners can help identify, educate and correct improper movements or lifting, other potential risks or underlying symptoms before the problem occurs or becomes more severe. For example, a mild shoulder strain is easier to treat and less costly than a rotator cuff tear.

The same is true for a mild low back sprain compared to a lumbar disc surgery. Treating injuries reactively may require surgery, lost time from work, lost productivity, high medical expenses and more. Some on-site clinics have even returned a $4 cost savings for every $1 invested in on-site care; others have benefitted from a 63 percent reduction in workplace injuries after implementation.

Reduced Drug Dependency

By focusing on prevention and early intervention, clinicians are able to address health issues before costly prescription drugs are needed. Additionally, complementary and integrative healthcare providers like a Doctor of Chiropractic are an ideal first option for drug-free and non-invasive back and general neuro-musculoskeletal pain management. Research has shown that prescribing opioids excessively and too early after a workplace injury can lead to additional risks for both the worker and employer, like drug dependence and extended recovery time from home.

Reduced Absenteeism or Presenteeism

Unengaged employees cost the U.S. between $438 billion to $605 billion a year in lost productivity, but experts say health benefits can move the needle. By proactively addressing health concerns and promoting wellness, employees will be less distracted by aches and pains that hinder them to fully perform their duties. Complementary and integrative care treatments like chiropractic or acupuncture can positively impact employees' mental health, and studies also show that some complementary and alternative medicine modalities correlate with lower absenteeism.

While on-site natural care clinics have become popular among larger corporations, these programs are affordable and extremely effective for small-to-medium-sized businesses. On-site clinic programs are scalable to meet the company size with a smaller capital investment.

All companies should consider these on-site natural care clinics as a valuable service to reduce health and safety risks. The clinics commonly have a very low upfront cost and result in a quick return on investment. I predict we will continue to see this model of care grow in popularity. With reduced corporate healthcare costs and injuries, drug dependency, absenteeism and presenteeism, companies will see valuable returns on their investments.

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