Where there’s a niche, there’s a way.
An AP story in Thursday’s Houston Chronicle turns attention to several companies who are staffing and running corporate medical clinics. The article highlights Cleveland based Whole Health Management, which currently serves 26 companies including Freddie Mac, Continental Airlines and NASA.
WIth the coming of the industrial revolution in the mid-1800s, companies began providing health care services for their workers, particularly when injured on the job. Some hired their own, others contracted with local physicians. In the steel-capital of Pittsburgh, the South Side Hospital had a “J & L floor”, staffed by company physicians, to care for injured workers from the J & L steel plant across the street. As a college student, I worked in the Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square, and there was a medical clinic on an upper floor.
The problem for both employees and employers is this: everyone is under time pressure, and leaving work for a doctor’s appointment can take out hours of productive time. The hassle and cost is often a deterant to going to the physician. The spread of retail clinics reflects this – these clinics solve a problem for the consumer.
For a large company, an onsite clinic can sav money, as costs are essentially fixed. Whether the onsite physician sees 1 patient in a day or 35, the cost is essentially the same. Some companies with onsite clinics pick up the cost or the deductible, seeing that less productive time is lost, and marginally sick employess will seek help before their illness progresses and other employees are infected.
What can you do?
1. Locate your office or a satellite in an office park. Self-insured employers have more leeway in offering incentives to patients, but the convenience factor is one.
2. Contract with a larger company to be their inhouse medical department. You can use a nurse practitioner here (presuming you can find one!).
3. Offer preferntial appointments and same day “sick” appointments for contracted companies. While the health insurance plan benefits may be the same, the convenience factor is important.
4. If you are located in a business district, or along a shopping zone, you can market to all of the small businesses up and down the strip offering convenience, discounts for non-covered services, and so on.
Be creative, and always keep in mind the problem that your future patient has that you can solve.