Employer-based health clinics represent a major opportunity for hospitals, and they should get directly involved with such clinics, according to a leading healthcare consultant.
"Employers are recognizing that the hospital community doesn't have equivalent services to those that are being promised by the vendor groups that are calling on them," Mike La Penna, founder and principal of the La Penna Group, told Becker's Hospital Review. "The employers often embrace contracts with national or regional vendors rather than utilizing the services offered by providers in the local healthcare community."
La Penna recommends four steps hospitals should follow in order to take full advantage of the opportunities employer-based clinics present:
Analyze the marketplace. La Penna advises hospitals to take a closer look at the specific medical needs and state of primary care of individual communities. Lack of primary care access drives a lot of interest in worksite clinics, according to La Penna. This means focusing on more than just geographical convenience or number of primary care offices, neither of which are any use if a patient can't get an appointment. "A hospital [having] a primary care infrastructure does not mean it has primary care deployed appropriately," La Penna told Becker's.
Know the differences between ambulatory care models. Unlike urgent care centers, employer-based clinics are there to meet the needs of a specific group of patients, and according to La Penna, hospitals that know the difference and "arm themselves with information" can help them demonstrate to employers that they can meet their needs as well as an outside vendor.
Build and develop relationships with employers. The reason vendors are having more success with employers, La Penna said, is their willingness to engage directly with them and figure out what needs they can meet. To compete, hospitals must develop similar relationships and connections.
Look into vendor partnerships. Partnering with an outside vendor also may be a possibility for hospitals, La Penna said, especially if the community has a vendor that's particularly effective at sales.
Workplace clinics started to grow in popularity after the passage of healthcare reform. In addition to their convenience, they also tend to be more technologically advanced than private practices, FiercePracticeManagement previously reported.
To learn more:
- here's the Becker's article