Apple's onsite health and wellness services put patient experience first
- AC Wellness, Apple's wellness clinic, has hired more than 40 people to provide on-site medical care to employees at its Bay Area headquarters, according to CNBC.
- So far, that list has not included physicians, but the clinic has hired nurse practitioners, nutritionists, exercise specialists and other wellness experts. Many of the hires have backgrounds in alternative or functional medicine. AC Wellness said it wants to bring on professionals who appreciate "patient experience and passion for wellness and population health." It has listed job postings for a primary care physician and also for a health partner, who would work "in direct partnership with the primary care physician to help patients improve their health and wellness through sustainable behavior change."
- Apple joins fellow tech giants Intel and Facebook in opening its own onsite wellness clinic. Many employers, primary care providers and start-ups have been experimenting with the growing trend, trying to save money and improve patient care.
Apple is part of a growing group of employers that offer employees on-site care options, but the focus on patient outcomes and preventive care is a tweak on the initiatives many companies have implemented which tend to be focused on pharmacy services or on-site check-ups. Many employers turn to health and wellness offerings to offer convenience to employees and in some cases to improve workforce health and drive costs down. How effective those programs are is a matter of debate.
Software company SAS Institute, for example, runs a worksite clinic that boasts a traditional primary care office, a walk-in pharmacy and a lab. By providing quality primary care, the company cuts down on its spending on specialty care, according to its chief health officer, Gale Adcock. On-site clinic operations, while not inexpensive, can improve workers' overall experience with the healthcare system and even confer business benefits by reducing attrition, Adock said earlier this year in remarks delivered at the World Health Care Congress 2018 in May.
Apples' approach to employee health and wellness is also representative of a shift from the "fee for service" model based on procedures and costly tests to one based on patient care outcomes. As CNBC points out, policymakers are focused on improving patient outcomes, or what's known as "value-based" care. A 2017 Willis Towers Watson survey found that employers are adopting value-based plans focused on providing high-quality, cost-efficient treatment. Employers — including large companies with thousands of employees, like Walmart — have promoted valued-based care by creating "centers of excellence" (COEs) for specialty treatment, as a way of spotlighting high-performance healthcare networks and negotiating better prices with service providers.
AC Wellness' focus on patient care is part of its hiring practice; it states on its website that the search is on for candidates with an appreciation for "patient experience and passion for wellness and population health." Striving for a positive patient experience is a mission, one that employees will carry out if an organization states the mission upfront in attracting applicants and hires candidates with the same values.