4 Things to Keep in Mind When Implementing an Onsite Health Center

You’ve decided to implement an onsite health center – congratulations! It’s a big decision that can solve for a variety of problems, not only making it easier for your workers to live healthier lives, but also helping drive down your healthcare costs.

The implementation phase is a rewarding time. After the hard work of evaluating if an onsite is a good fit for your organization and making your case to leadership, this is the time when everything starts to come together. While exciting, implementations are a big lift involving many stakeholders and moving pieces. Here are four things to keep in mind while working through the process to help ensure success.

Involve the key players

From the start, you’ll be responsible for identifying and including the appropriate leaders from your organization to form a successful internal implementation team. When considering who should be included, think broadly about which departments will be impacted by implementing an onsite health center. Your team should include:

    • Key decision maker/sponsor – This will often be a senior leader, but they likely won’t participate in the day-to-day work of the implementation process. Their role will be more focused on providing input on critical decisions.
    • Project manager or lead – While it’s typical to choose a single project manager, an implementation is an extensive project with many components. Choosing co-leads could be a strategic decision to drive a smoother process. Whoever you choose should have a level of authority at your organization, be able to make decisions, and coordinate the right resources to keep the implementation moving smoothly. After your center opens, this person could also be a good fit for the day-to-day contact between your company and your onsite health partner.
    • Human resources/benefits – A worksite health center is a valuable benefit for your employees and dependents, which is why you’ll want your HR representation involved on your implementation team. They’ll need to work through the process of gathering claims data and eligibility files to gain insights on how your health center can drive the most value and be incorporated with your organizations’ benefit plan design.
    • Facilities – Your facilities team will be crucial to get things ready to go live. Whether you’re remodeling an older building, making space in your current office, or starting a brand-new build, they’ll need to be involved in the decision making. They can also play a role in the physical design, construction, and maintenance to support the new center.
    • Information technology – Don’t forget your IT team. They’ll make sure your providers have everything they need to deliver high-quality care, such as phone lines and a safe, secure internet connection independent of your company’s existing resources.
    • Marketing and communications – This team needs to be involved so they can drive awareness of the new center and effectively communicate to employees the value of it! Having a strong communications plan will help your center achieve high utilization rates and drive down your healthcare costs.

Plan an appropriate timeline

It’s expected that you want your employees to have access to your onsite health center as soon as possible, but building an appropriate timeline will get you there sooner than trying to push forward an expedited, poorly thought out plan. On average, buildout for a center takes around 180 business days, followed by four weeks to train and onboard the staff who will be providing care. If you ultimately move forward with a quicker timeline, your vendor partner should do their due diligence in explaining the risks that could arise along the way and how they may affect timing for the rest of the process.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many industries, which could affect your timeline. There have been shortages in metal, glass, and computer chips, as well as construction delays due to major material supply line challenges and companies struggling to find workers. The Great Resignation has also been an added challenge in recruiting professional healthcare workers. Your vendor partner should be transparent with you on all these challenges and have a strategy to address them, whether it’s planning for a longer buildout or suggesting sign on bonuses to attract talent.

Toward the end of your timeline, you’ll want to coordinate any open houses or ribbon cuttings. Many healthcare partners recommend doing a “soft” go-live with an abbreviated schedule once your center is ready to see patients. This approach allows your new health center team to make a smooth transition and adapt to the workflows of the health center while learning your organization’s culture.

Expect the unexpected

In such a high-stakes project, something unplanned will happen. Don’t panic! There is always a solution to get through the unexpected. While it’s difficult to predict what challenges you may encounter along the way, some things to potentially expect include:

    • Losing a key player – Things happen. A key decision maker on your team may leave the organization, get sick, or take a leave of absence. Expect this and ensure you have several “back up” people on your team. They don’t need to be involved in every meeting but should be kept informed about the major milestones so if they need to step in, it will be a seamless transition.
    • Ease of access to the health center is challenging – What you thought would be a great location for your health center may not turn out to be true. If it appears people are struggling to find their way, invest in signage and wayfinding throughout campus. If you want your employees and dependents to use the health center, they need to be able to find and access it easily.
    • Future growth – It may not be on your radar right now, but in the future you might want to expand services or build a near-site wellness center in the community to better serve the dependent population. At Premise Health, 99% of our clients offer more than one product, so it’s important to think about what your employees may need in the future and what space you’ll have available.

Communicate for success

A worksite health center will experience much greater success and utilization when your employees are educated on the types of care available, understand the process, and have confidence in those providing their care.

Begin developing a communications campaign about your wellness center as soon as possible to build excitement for the new benefit. Consistent updates provide a good touchpoint to build awareness around what will be offered and the people who will be staffing and managing the center. Utilize your intranet as well to share renderings of the new space or videos documenting construction progress. For more senior leaders, guided tours are a great way to showcase the center and ensure they’re educated about the value it will provide.

You should also communicate with any other benefit vendors you work with. Spend time educating your onsite clinic teams about the other benefits employees have access to and let your vendor partners know what services will be provided at your center. Annual vendor summits, where all partners come together to understand how they can utilize each other, are a great way to facilitate integration and make healthcare easier for your people.

At Premise Health, once you’ve seen one of our health centers, you’ve seen one of our health centers – every component is completely customized based on the needs of each client. From net-new health centers to phased implementations to lift outs, our experienced implementations team has done it all with timelines and plans customized for each unique client. Nine out of 10 Premise implementations run at a 6.0 Six Sigma Level, and we’re the only direct healthcare company to have an evidence-based design accredited and certified architect. Let’s talk about what we can build for you.

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