Employer Healthcare Strategies


The Benefits of On-Site Medical Clinics

Posted by Jeremy Cavness on September 23, 2014
Share Benefits of Onsite Medical Clinics | CareATC, Inc.
On-site medical clinics aren't a new concept. In fact, they've been around for decades and were often found inside the facilities of many companies looking to provide localized medical services to their workforce. The result was often a "camp nurse" environment where employees could go and grab a bandaid or icepack, or get their tempature checked if they weren't feeling well.

Twenty years ago, the majority of on-site clinic models simply staffed nurses that could administer the basic functions of a medical clinic, as well as provide a professional opinion on whether someone needed more advanced medical attention or not. This model aimed to provide employers with "productivity" savings by keeping employees on location for acute care and by keeping employees honest regarding the severity of their medical needs.

Today, on-site medical clinics offer a more robust menu of services that center around primary care and are designed to treat chronic disease in addition to acute illness. Even better, unique services such as aggregate risk identification, personal health assessments, wellness programs, and improved patient compliance allow on-site clinicians to more effectively treat and manage the health of your entire employee population.

Here are a few of the many benefits of onsite clinics:

Improved Access to Care

As highlighted here, the inability to access care when it's most important is one of the primary contributors to the prevalence of chronic disease. When people are denied access, costs increase. With the shortage of primary care physicians reaching an all-time high, this problem is only going to continue to get worse.

On-site clinics provide a private, members only atmosphere and significantly increase the number of available appointments for any given patient base. The result is a substantial boost in the number of opportunities to intervene with disease.

Traditionally, the following barriers deter employees from obtaining primary care:

  • Inaccessible or inconvenient locations
  • Lack of available appointments
  • Longer wait times

Too often, these inconveniences cause patients to avoid seeking care until the severity of their health problem outweighs the hassle involved. When employees don’t seek care, they are more likely to end up in the hospital receiving complex, costly treatment for something they could have otherwise prevented. This means higher costs for the employer.

On-site medical clinics remove these barriers of inconvenience because:

  • They are located at or near your office.
  • Services are only offered to employees and their dependents. This creates a demand for care that is much more proportional to the availability of physicians and resources, which allows greater appointment availability and shorter wait times.

Restored Patient-Provider Relationship

The patient-provider relationship directly relates to health outcomes because it not only gives patients access to health care, but also promotes healing. Recent studies by the Society of General Internal Medicine confirm that "office visits with more effective information gathering by patients, more information provided by physicians, more conversation by patients relative to the physician, and more expression of affect were all associated with better health and functional status.”

On-site clinics facilitate this crucial relationship by:

  • Eliminating downstream revenue incentives and replacing fee-for-service payment models with Pay for Performance (P4P). By rewarding physicians on quality of care, an onsite PCP's primary focus is providing the best care possible. This achieves cost-savings and provides a greater chance for improved health outcomes.
  • Limiting services to employees and dependents and removing scheduling pressures, which allows patients to spend more time with their physician. The patient can milk more information out of their visit because they are afforded more time to ask questions and to inquire into the physician's line of reasoning. Likewise, the physician can spend more time listening to the patient and placing his or her health needs in context. This paves the way for more appropriate, effective treatment.

Together, these factors allow both the patient and the physician to focus on what matters most: quality health care.

Greater Opportunities for Cost Savings

Allow this to marinate: According to The Towers Watson Employer Survey (2013-2014), employers' share of premium costs has increased nearly 32% since 2009, from $7,486 of a total plan cost of $9,748 to $9,580 of a total plan cost of $12,535. Despite a moderate 4.1% cost trend in 2013, cost remain more than double the rate of inflation. Naturally, affordability remains employers' top concern for providing health care.

However, on-site clinics help amend this problem by eliminating some of the cost from the plan. A well-executed onsite medical clinic with a strong analytics department can reduce the number of large claims and thus reduce overall medical costs, and provide meaningful, immediate, and long-term savings.

  • On-site clinics may eliminate out-of-pocket payments, such as co-pays and deductibles. As previously mentioned, this makes employees more inclined to seek primary care. This also increases compliance and continuity of care. Again, preventive care leads to a reduction in large claims and overall claims volume.
  • Risk-stratified care management utilizes an integrated medical records system that obtains information from various sources. This reduces the likelihood of misdiagnosis, hospital readmissions, or other medical errors that generate higher costs.
  • Many onsite physicians have no incentive for downstream revenue, and therefore will only refer a patient to a specialist if it is within the patient's best interest, ergo greater cost-savings.
  • A recent study by McKinsey & Company reveals that lifestyle-related habits and chronic diseases contribute to 75% of health costs. Onsite medical clinics amend this because health assessments allow employers to design strategies that reduce overall claims, such as health and wellness programs, chronic disease management, and preventative care. This lowers the risk of large losses and leads to significant long-term savings.


By eliminating barriers to quality care, onsite medical clinics promise a happy ending for all those involved. To recapitulate the holistic merits of onsite medical clinics:

  • They design programs that teach employees to take ownership of their health and become socially responsible consumers of care.
  • They utilize health assessments to address medical needs before they become financially and physically burdensome for the employer.
  • The improved health comes boost the perceived value of your company.

So, what’s the overall result?

On-site clinics assist health systems in becoming more efficient, effective, and equitable. By adding an onsite clinic into your health plan, you will achieve cost-savings and provide your employees with what they want most -- better health care.

Want to learn more about the benefits of onsite medical clinics? Download this free guide or click the image below:
                     10 benefits of onsite medical clinics   

Jeremy Cavness

About The Author

Jeremy Cavness

Jeremy is a former CareATC marketing team member.

Post Topics On-Site Medical Clinics