June 22, 2018

Near-site or onsite clinics: How to choose the best model for your business

While the end goals of both near-site and onsite clinics may be the same, choosing the right care model is important.

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The benefits of onsite health clinics are well documented. Employers report improved performance, from productivity (63% of employers say their clinic has reduced lost workdays) and morale to better health and direct cost savings. Overall, the 2015 Mercer Survey on Worksite Clinics found that 85% of employers with onsite clinics say that their organization generally perceives their clinic as a success.

These benefits are no longer reserved for large employers implementing onsite clinics. Smaller and mid-size employers are embracing a near-site or multi-employer clinic model, allowing them to reap the benefits of better healthcare regardless of size. These clinics are typically located near the employer and may be shared by multiple employers in a geographic area.

Both near-site and onsite health clinics improve access to care and lower costs. The scope of care for both clinic types can range from workplace injuries and minor illnesses to ongoing management of chronic diseases. When managed effectively, both models reduce the risk for future catastrophic claims, reduce unnecessary ER utilization and manage chronic conditions, leading to significant cost savings.

While the end goals of both near-site and onsite clinics may be the same, choosing the right onsite care model for your workforce will drive utilization, ensure buy-in and ultimately fuel cost savings. Consider the following baseline recommendations using employee count per location:


For locations less than 500 employees:

Mid-size and small employers can consider a near-site clinic solution, in which multiple employers share access to a conveniently located off-site clinic. A near-site clinic is also a good option for workforces with employees spread out among multiple locations within the same geographic area.


Physician-led near-site clinics

Scope of care in near-site clinics can range from acute and chronic condition management (similar to the scope in many onsite clinics) to a physician-led practice known as direct primary care.

Compared to traditional primary care, employers find direct primary care offers a better experience, more comprehensive care and lower costs. Many factors play a role in choosing the team responsible for delivering healthcare to your employees, and the staff and scope should fit your workforce needs and goals.


Flexibility, convenience, scalability

Near-site clinics are typically located near the employer (as opposed to on the employer’s campus) and may be shared between multiple companies. This option presents multiple logistics and cost benefits, including reduced start-up costs and lower overall investment. Instead of financing a complete build of an onsite clinic, multiple employers share operational costs, and in many cases, only pay for the employers who utilize the clinic.

Smaller and mid-size employers also realize the scalability benefit of a near-site clinic. By paying for clinic access per employee, the near-site model offers a solution that’s ready to grow with them without sacrificing employee satisfaction or requiring remodeling of an onsite clinic. Near-site clinics also offer employers a way to get up and running quickly. Compared to onsite solutions, near-site clinics require considerably less planning time.

Near-site clinics are typically run by third-party vendor, who works with employers on goals, staffing and engagement. The vendor maintains the day-to-day operations, while employers benefit from more convenient and cost-effective care.


For locations exceeding 500 employees:

Larger employers may consider providing convenient care through an onsite health clinic. These clinics are located on work premises, full-time and staffed by a nurse practitioner, registered nurse or clinician.


Convenience and productivity savings of onsite health clinics

Onsite clinics offer employers the optimal solution for convenience and productivity savings by offering care at their workforce. Instead of employees spending up to two hours away from work for a traditional appointment, employees can receive convenient, quality care in their onsite clinic.

Scope of care can range from occupational health to acute and urgent care, depending on your workforce and goals. Most onsite clinics also incorporate health coaching or chronic disease management, helping employers reduce the risk for future catastrophic claims or advanced disease.


Take the next steps in determining your near-site or onsite clinic strategy with a printable planning guide. You’ll access checklists, vendor evaluation questions and a sample clinic ROI report.