Why Are Top Companies Providing Onsite Health Clinics?

Providing Employees with Easy, Onsite Care Might Be the Key to Success

Tesla is the latest tech giant to announce the opening of an onsite health clinic for employees. They join the growing trend of innovative companies to provide employees with easy, onsite access to medical professionals and health care services. Other notable companies already offering such benefits include Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and CustomInk. Tesla is already reporting a 10 percent improvement in lost work days over last year.

One third of companies with 5,000 or more employees offer general onsite clinics, up from 24% in 2014. The number that offer occupational clinics is slightly more, at 38%. While less prevalent in mid-sized companies of 500-4,999 employees 18% already offer clinics, with 8% saying they will be offering one by 2019.

History of Company Clinics

While onsite employee health clinics are becoming more and more popular today, the concept originated in the 1860’s with railroad and mining companies. In industries where work related injuries were frequent and numerous, the option for company doctors made sense. Yet they were largely unpopular to to their high per visit cost. Once the Great Depression began in the 1920’s the concept was all but lost until the manufacturing booming the 1930’s, when they began to become more popular again.

With the rising cost of healthcare disproportionate to slow GDP growth, these clinics’ popularity surged again in the 2000s. This newest generation of clinics is less focused on onsite injury, as work has transitioned from labor to tech and office work, and instead address overall health. The clinics now offer easy access to resources pertaining to all areas of health and wellness.

Modern Employer Clinic Initiatives

How do companies know which care and services are most consumed by their employees in order to include them in the on-site clinic?  In addition to surveying staff and pulling aggregated historical insurance information, shadowing a few employees throughout their daily routine will help any company to determine if primary versus specialty care is needed to include in the onsite clinic or if other social services would be valuable to include.  

As onsite health clinics shift away from occupational injury and towards holistic health care, they tend to offer a range of services to provide optimal care. General services they frequently offer include:

  • Acute Care: Short term treatment of minor illnesses- cold, flu, and minor injuries
  • Preventive Care: Check ups, flu shots, and health screenings
  • Disease Management: Ongoing treatment for chronic issues and diseases, like heart disease or diabetes
  • Wellness Programs: Holistic resources assisting with overall health and wellness including weight loss initiatives, and stress reducing modalities
  • Specialty Services: Everything from dieticians and physical therapists to pharmacies and orthopedics

Each of these various initiatives support different motivations for providing employee clinic services, providing employers with a positive return on the investment in clinics and in turn spurring their popularity.

Quality Employees: In the cutthroat job market for highly skilled individuals, employee benefits are an important factor in attracting the best potential employees. Having onsite sick services and shadowing to understand what services and care employees seek and desire most, such as a gym, chiropractor, or therapist, are the ultimate convenience for overworked employees in our modern 24/7 work schedule. Employees can also expect modern, efficient, high-quality care compared to public health clinics. Companies offering clinics report not only improved employee health, but increased employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction.

Quality of Service: It’s only natural that cutting edge companies will employ cutting edge technology and procedures in their onsite health clinics. There’s also the added efficiency, which impacts not only overall health of the staff and ability to quickly and proficiently address health concerns, but also the bottom line. Once again “owning their own doctors” provides benefits. Where a family doctor may recommend numerous specialists and possibly unnecessary testing, company doctors can work more efficiently in time and spending. They can also guarantee they utilize top of the line technology in prevention, treatment, and procedure.

Controlling Costs: Their influence of company doctors not only impacts quality of service, it improves the bottom line in multiple ways. Again, cutting out unnecessary spending on health care, they are saving on health care costs they’d have no control over otherwise. This influence alone has a massive impact on the company’s bottom line from reduced health care spending and insurance costs.


Additional Bottom Line Factors: Beyond controlling costs, there are the harder to measure yet equally valuable benefits to the bottom line.

Healthy Employees:

Are more productive Not only does optimal health benefit productivity, the convenience of onsite services saves employees time. Having a one-stop health shop onsite alleviates the need to leave the office, and reduces the number of appointments and various locations they may need to go to seek treatment. When holistic wellness programing is included, employees will function at their optimal potential, reducing stress, increasing concentration, living healthier, happier lives, which undoubtedly has an impact on productivity.

Miss less work When employees miss less work, they can be more productive, and reduce costs for paid leave time for the company. Not only are the getting better quicker and easier, they are avoiding potential illnesses through preventive care.

Reduce insurance costs Once again all of these factors, from company doctor’s more efficient treatments to preventive services, reduce overall costs on insurance, and have a positive impact on the bottom line.


By The Numbers

  • Companies with onsite clinics see a 59% increase in employee attraction and retention
  • Studies showed a 63% decrease in missed work days
  • Patients (ie employees) save 2 to 4 hours per visit when going to onsite clinics versus traveling offsite
  • A recent study found companies that offer an onsite clinic saw a 64% reduction in Healthcare costs.
  • A John Hopkins study revealed a 63% drop in emergency room visits
  • One onsite pharmacy’s initiative to prescribe generic drugs saved the company 40% on drug costs

Shadowing to determine what resources and services to provide to employees is a real-time way to gather information from employees and to engage them in their own care. More engaged consumers and patients, lead to higher retention rates and lower healthcare costs and increased productivity.   “Employers are becoming more directly involved in shaping the healthcare market and improving their employees’ health,” says Carly Deer, National Association of Worksite Health Centers (NAWHC) board chair and senior benefits leader at Target. “Properly structured onsite medical facilities can create a foundation of primary care and associated services that can assist moving care upstream, which can help improve outcomes, manage cost and increase productivity.”

Companies seeking onsite clinic services will do well to follow the leaders like Apple and Amazon. Considering the importance of quality and efficacy, alongside the potential risks to get it right, it is important to seek the latest in healthcare technology and software to develop the most efficient and effective health services at the highest quality. Understanding what employees desire will help employers to deliver services and to allocate resources effectively.  Shadowing gives real-time data from the perspective of all stakeholders to understand services, how to deliver them and barriers to overcome to make them most effective.

Posted on

February 8, 2019