August 6, 2018—What company wouldn’t want to reduce workplace injuries and absenteeism, decrease workers’ compensation costs, and boost employees’ engagement and morale? Meeting these goals is essential as Minnesota employers struggle to recruit and retain people in this ever-tightening job market.
It turns out that offering employees health care and wellness services right at work is an effective way to accomplish all of these objectives, and then some. While many employers already provide onsite health and wellness education, many discover that such programs don’t necessary prompt lasting change.
A more effective model involves offering health care services right at the office. Employers have started partnering with providers to foster a culture of health and productivity with onsite clinics. There, caregivers offer services like medical or chiropractic treatment, education, and consulting, says Dr. Chad Henriksen, a chiropractor and director of the WorkSiteRight program at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington.
“The world of onsite care in general is exploding as employers look to solve rising health care costs and provide a benefit package to meet a challenging hiring market,” says Henriksen.
Investments in such clinics have a significant effect both on employees’ health and morale—and employers’ bottom line. In a recent study, WorkSiteRight found that for every dollar invested in onsite health care, employers saved more than $8. They also experienced a 67 percent drop in workers’ compensation costs and a 63 percent decrease in sprain and strain injuries, says Henriksen, a specialist in occupational health and ergonomics.
Employers reported that about 60 percent of their staff engage with WorkSiteRight clinics, with no negative effects on productivity. They also noticed significantly higher morale and an improved ability to attract and retain talent.
WorkSiteRight sets up onsite clinics where employees gain access to chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, and connections to other health care services as needed. Instead of leaving work to go to the chiropractor or doctor, or living with a nagging pain that leads to worse injuries, employees visit their workplace clinic for care. It’s more efficient and effective because employees don’t have to take time off of work, and they often have their concerns addressed sooner when they are easier to treat.
“Our onsite programs are geared toward prevention and early intervention. We’re not sitting back and waiting for things to happen and then fixing them,” Henriksen says. “We focus on how to engage employees early in their care instead of waiting until it’s too far down the road.”
Injury prevention programs are another area where onsite health providers help employers. At WorkSiteRight clinics, clinicians host lunch-and-learns about wellness, teach employees about ergonomics, and share tips about proper lifting and sitting practices. And by being on location several times a week, Henriksen says, providers really get to know employees. That often opens doors to talking about other issues like weight loss or smoking.
“If employers have healthy people, they are less likely to be injured or ill,” he adds. “Being located right in the workplace, we have a strong ability to pass that message along.”
Northwestern has been consulting with companies about occupational health and wellness for a number of years. Its WorkSiteRight onsite clinic program is nearly four years old and has helped companies in Minnesota, Indiana, Virginia, and California.
All employers have continued their clinics, once opened. They are pleasantly surprised by the wide-ranging impact they have, from better morale to lower health care costs and reduced absenteeism. Henriksen adds, “It’s been very, very positive.”
Source: Mpls.St.Paul Magazine