Prevent It

WorkWell's Workplace Injury Prevention Blog

Why now is the time for a Managed Onsite MSK Clinic

For some, a Managed Onsite MSK clinic is a new concept. Running a manufacturing company in the late 90s, I know the concept would have been foreign to me. Not because I didn’t care deeply about the employees, but it wasn’t how things were done or how occupational health was managed.

Because it is a newer concept, it is often hard to understand how and why it works. I know you are thinking:  we have done ergonomics initiatives before, which didn’t work.  Why would a Managed Onsite MSK clinic be any different?

A Managed Onsite MSK clinic staffed with a trained expert therapist onsite can make lasting change by delivering a consistent, high-touch employee experience. Lasting change takes ongoing reinforcement and focus.  While many programs train the trainer, the trainer often juggles multiple priorities; over time, the highest priority usually wins. Things return to “the way we’ve always done it.”

Some programs that may not have been successful in the past can thrive with a Managed Onsite MSK clinic: 

  • Warm-up programs
  • Proper lifting techniques
  • Job Coaching
  • Rounds and, Ergo assessments
  • Early reporting of aches and pains for both occupational and non-occupational issues
  • Modified Train the Trainer –enabling the team to spot opportunities to be consistent and more in alignment with job priorities

Furthermore, Onsite Managed MSK clinics can help in ways you may have yet to consider. 

  • Facilitate the onboarding of new hires in physically demanding or repetitive motion jobs. Like the concept of couch to 5K, a lot of new hires take on a physically demanding job with a lack of understanding of the demands and/or in subpar physical condition. This situation often leads to turnover.  Offset undesirable turnover by:
    • Including the therapist in new hire training
    • Utilizing the therapist to help create and deliver job conditioning and resiliency programs
    • Implementing worksite rounds to check in with new employees as they condition to the demands of the job, helping ensure the ability to identify general muscle soreness vs. injury.
    • Creating new hire cohorts – for example, at an onsite location for a food distributor, new hires are onboarded together in a cohort, attend back school, and meet with some frequency to ensure they are supported from a physical / MSK perspective.
  • Having an onsite clinic instead of going to an offsite option ensures timely assessment and appropriate intervention for what the employee is experiencing.
  • The onsite therapist understands the functional demands of the job the employee is performing, which allows for more effective modification of job duties to either stay at work during an injury or to ensure it is safe to return to work after an absence or injury.
  • An onsite clinic staffed with a trained provider builds employee trust and becomes a valued resource.
    A Managed Onsite MSK clinic is overseen by WorkWell's team of experts with deep clinical and occupational depth, which frees safety and operational employees to focus on other priorities.

Because the concept of an onsite is relatively new, the budget isn’t always clearly identified. But, investment in a Managed Onsite MSK clinic – a small footprint with a reasonable cost - has a significant impact and pays for itself.  While these onsite programs typically have a positive ROI, drilling down to the components of that calculation is critical:

  • Reduction in Worker’s Compensation claims and OSHA recordables
  • Reduction in general health insurance claims – MSK is the second largest healthcare cost behind cancer. Whether the injury starts at work or home is not always easy to determine and ultimately impacts the employee wherever they are. Early reporting and first aid for aches and pains reduce absenteeism and presenteeism (working but not fully productive)
  • Productivity gains and eliminating the juggle of workers that are out because of injury
  • Build trust and goodwill with employees
  • Retention of employees
  • Reduction of employee turnover costs
  • Enhanced culture and safety culture

Implementing a Managed Onsite MSK clinic is a path to making positive, lasting changes in your company.  It reduces injuries, creates a safe work environment, and builds goodwill and trust with employees.  I wish I had the option to implement a Managed Onsite MSK clinic in the 90s for the reasons stated above.  But the good news is that we know much more about keeping employees healthy and safe today.

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