Prevent It

WorkWell's Workplace Injury Prevention Blog

Improve the Employee Experience by Offering a Holistic Onsite Physical Therapy Clinic

STRAINS SPRAINS AND BACKPAINFor many companies, the automatic assumption is that a nurse or off-site provider is the best way to meet employee medical needs. But a deeper look tells a different story about what can have an impact. Typical injuries will always require medical care, such as bloodwork, MRIs, doctor visits, imaging, surgery and meds, and will always be serviced off-site. Typically, they make up 70-80% of the medical spend. For the remaining 20-30%, what’s often overlooked is the area of physical therapy (PT).

Successful PT programs meet multiple needs, both reducing treatment costs and building prevention for a double impact. Plus, PT, especially when onsite, improves the employee experience by reducing worries and uncertainty as well as prolonged absences from work.

In today's video, our own Brian Boyle, PT/DPT, discuss two questions we often get in regards to bringing a physical therapist onsite. The first "If we build it, will they come?" or in other words what will happen if we build out a physical therapy clinic onsite? Will we automatically have a line out the door with employees who want to be seen and now filing claims? The answer to this is no, in our experience we have never seen a physical therapist inundated with employees and no one working. It just doesn’t happen. Most people don’t go see their own doctor much less someone they don’t even know yet. But it also depends on the culture of your employees and the workplace.

And the second question we often get asked is, "Where should the physical therapist be spending most of their time? If they are skilled experts at treatment, wouldn’t they automatically go straight to treatment?" And the answer is that anywhere between 50-75% of the return on investment of a physical therapist being onsite is when they spend their time being proactive and not reacting to an injury that has already occurred. Being proactive can look like participating in Post Offer Employment Testing (POET) for a person before they even start the job, being active in new hire orientation training, assisting with job coaching and helping employees with job-related tasks to make them more comfortable, and then taking care of any aches and pains for employees which may arise before they ever get to the point of being an injury and requiring treatment.


Establishing and running an onsite healthcare practice can be complicated. There are many components to be addressed, including how to build, staff, and equip the PT clinic, how to securely process employees’ medical data and paperwork, and how to evaluate the clinic’s effectiveness. Because of the complexity, many organizations elect to outsource an onsite clinic’s setup and operation to a qualified third-party provider.

"Onsite clinics have to be customized to meet the needs and requirements of each and every individual program."

To deliver optimum results, your onsite PT clinic should be designed with your budget and workers’ specific healthcare needs in mind, as well as your long-term employee wellness goals.


Six Steps for a Successful Onsite Managed PT Clinic

While each PT clinic’s implementation will vary, there are specific measures involved: prepare a site, staff and train therapists, install/open the clinic, and perform ongoing analysis and support. When choosing an onsite PT clinic provider, make sure they can:

  1. Use Data to Develop Appropriate PT Services – Before creating a prescriptive preventative/wellness program, your provider should consider your current situation as well as employee health and safety objectives, based on data such as injury rates and worker demographics. Be sure to jointly define and agree upon costs, success criteria, and provided services prior to designing and launching the onsite clinic.
  2. Recruit and Onboard Staff - You shouldn’t have to hire and train PT staff on your own. Your managed services provider will select and train a credentialed PT team that’s right for your workforce.
  3. Implement Onsite Clinic Facility – While creating a physical space for your PT clinic that may be handled internally, your provider will select and install PT equipment, medical IT systems, and safety protocols.
  4. Publicize Clinic to Employees - An onsite clinic is a great employee benefit, but only if they use it. Special communications materials promote the clinic and its benefits to workers, both at launch time and over the long term.
  5. Manage Clinic Kickoff Week – Your provider will conduct employee outreach activities such as an Open House and produce educational handouts to introduce the clinic, build employee awareness, and encourage employee engagement.
  6. Measure Clinic’s Effectiveness – To track the clinic’s ROI and impact, it’s important to periodically request and review pertinent reports on claims data, OSHA recordable metrics, number of employee visits, etc. These reports can ascertain the clinic is meeting your expressed goals and that PT staff are competent.

A well-run onsite PT Clinic can improve employee wellbeing by providing a convenient location for diagnosing, treating, and preventing MSK injuries. Setting up and operating a successful onsite clinic is easier with the right provider. Learn how WorkWell has helped launch and manage hundreds of onsite clinics for our clients.

Onsite PT

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