Onsite ‘Whole Person Care’ as the Answer to Employers’ Health Care Priorities

M. L. Hopkins

Employers’ goals for the health care they provide workforces have grown increasingly sophisticated and specific – well beyond a general call for lower costs and quality care. As seen in the 2024 Business Group on Health Large Employer Survey, many of their priorities hinge on precise data needs.1

Employers want transparency into the major drivers of health care costs, such as prescription costs, chronic conditions, and diseases like cancer not detected until catastrophic late stages. They want screening and prevention.

Employers support platforms to engage employees – and they want employees to have greater visibility into cost and quality data so they can make more informed decisions about their health.

Employers want additional reporting and better provider quality measurement standards, and they want health care partners that will be accountable in providing high-quality, cost-effective services.

Employers are open to adjusting the services they offer through onsite clinics to reflect their priorities and increasingly offer primary care to support broader access to integrated, comprehensive health care.

Onsite health care popular with employers, employees

Onsite clinics continue to be a popular strategy for managing health care costs, reducing health risks, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity; in fact, approximately 80% of employers say any or all of these four reasons motivated them to establish onsite health care.2

Such health strategies could hardly succeed, however, if not for two other reasons employers give for valuing onsite clinics – employees like them and employees will use them. Eighty-three percent of employers give onsite clinics high marks for employee satisfaction and 78% for utilization.3

Today, small- and medium-sized employers also are drawn to onsite clinics as a means to provide for employees’ primary care needs.4

Onsite advanced primary care takes hold

A vital onsite health offering with special appeal to employers, particularly in light of their data-driven health priorities, is advanced primary care.

Advanced primary care is a model of closely coordinated “Whole Person Care” that is delivered by multidisciplinary care teams, with an emphasis on enriched care team-participant relationships to build a foundation of trust. Trust in health care relationships is a key ingredient of effective, high-quality care.5

Emphasis on relationship may seem like a nostalgic throwback to old-time country doctors who knew patients all their lives, but advanced primary care is ultra-modern and firmly grounded in advanced, data-driven technologies to promote engagement and capture participant data in real time from multiple sources. This latter purpose supports transparency into the health and social behavior patterns of individuals and the employer population in toto, with the goal of reducing risk and improving health.

It's easy to see why, with employers’ sophisticated, data-driven health care priorities and determination to engage employees as partners in improving their health, advanced primary care is gaining traction.

Whole Person Care is a 360º view of health

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a research agency of the National Institutes of Health, explains that Whole Person Care “involves looking at the whole person – not just separate organs or body systems – and considering multiple factors that promote either health or disease. It means helping and empowering individuals, families, communities, and populations to improve health in multiple interconnected biological, behavioral, social, and environmental areas. Instead of just treating a specific disease, whole person care focuses on restoring health, promoting resilience, and preventing diseases across a lifespan.”6

The NCCIH describes health and disease not as two separate, disconnected states but as different directions on the same path. An individual’s biological makeup, behaviors, lifestyle, nutrition and diet, emotional and mental health, and all the social aspects of living, growing, working, and aging influence movement in the direction of health or toward disease.

Onsite advanced primary care embraces Whole Person Care in contrast to transactional care of traditional primary care where a clinician focuses on a single health issue at a time.

Thinking about the difference in approach

The fee-for-service payment model reinforced the transactional nature of primary care. Under this model, health care professionals are paid per person, per visit with a separate fee charged for each service provided to the patient. Each provider is paid for seeing the patient, regardless of the clinical outcome.7

Fee-for-service fostered a predictable health care sequencing of diagnosis, treatment, ordering of medications, tests, and procedures, making referrals, conducting administrative tasks, and billing. With each health issue, the sequence begins again and repeats.

Contrast this approach with an upfront payment model with Whole Person Care through an onsite location. A care team (clinician, RN, etc.) digs in to understand the full health journey of an individual – all the twists and turns that have led to better health and the bumps in the road of disease or illness. Then the care team interacts with a person in the context of their health history, their behaviors and habits, and their abundant personal reasons for wanting to feel better. Health care no longer focuses simply on a bone or a joint or a blip on a screen, but on the whole person, as illustrated in their health history, health risk assessments, and all the influencers of health.

A holistic approach like this, addressed through relationships of trust, is designed to fulfill the four tenets of the Quadruple Aim of health care, which is a national framework for achieving value-based care and enhancing health care efficiency.8 The Quadruple Aim calls for:

  • Improvement in population health through Whole Person Care that includes chronic disease management and disease prevention
  • Better patient experience through enriched and trusted interactions with a care team that coordinates care and referrals, easing navigation of the health system
  • Reductions in the cost of health care through superior patient engagement and onsite program utilization, and
  • Enhanced care team well-being with a return to a holistic focus on healing a person, not a body part or system

What has happened to make this approach possible? Advanced health information technologies.

Technology’s role in onsite advanced primary care

Today’s leading health care technology capabilities provide an enriched experience:

  • For the participant, through engagement and access to health information
  • For the provider, through a variety of clinical tools and data to enhance health care decisions and outcomes, and
  • For the employer, through superior analytics, measurement, and reporting for insights into better workforce health

Participant engagement

Gone are the days of waiting on the phone to make an appointment or negotiating days and times with the office scheduler. Test results – when they arrive and what they say – are no mystery now. Attractive, interactive patient portals enable participants to schedule appointments online when it is convenient for them and to access test results and care team health recommendations and reminders as soon as they appear. Communication with care team members is not only possible, it’s encouraged. Participants are provided health education and resources that enable them to engage productively in their health.

Provider clinical tools and data

All care team members have access to a more complete picture of each participant’s full health record. Interoperability of health technologies and systems puts the full spectrum of appointments, reports, outcomes, medications, and referrals at the fingertips of the care team for better decision making. Health risk assessments and risk scoring help care team members see which patients face the highest risk for chronic illness, such as diabetes and heart disease, cancer, and more. Clinical tools help identify gaps in care so those can be addressed and more serious illness prevented. Care team members are able to see important dimensions of care and service in the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures. They can monitor ongoing readings that the participant uploads (such as blood pressure or blood sugar) to get insight into needed adjustments in care.

Employer insights into population health

Reporting tools aggregate workforce health data in high-level dashboards, enabling employers to drill down into trends affecting their population and significant contributors to those health outcomes and health care costs. Employers aren’t at the mercy of waiting until the end of the year to see how their health care programs performed. Ongoing monitoring and response are possible.

Contact us to learn more

Concentra Onsite Health Advanced Primary Care is the enhanced generation of primary care from Concentra Onsite Health, which has been serving employers for 30 years in workplace health. Let us show you how advanced primary care can transform the health and resilience of your workforce.


  1. 2024 Large Employer Health Care Strategy Survey: Executive Summary. Business Group on Health. Accessed March 6, 2024. 
  2. More companies turning to onsite clinics,” by Nick Otto. EBN (Employee Benefit News). October 21, 2018. 
  3. More companies turning to onsite clinics,” by Nick Otto. EBN (Employee Benefit News). October 21, 2018. 
  4. Primary care disrupted: Now, smaller employers are opening onsite clinics. ALM Benefits PRO. November 2, 2023. 
  5. Robinson CA. Trust, Health Care Relationships, and Chronic Illness: A Theoretical Coalescence. Global Qualitative Nursing Research. 2016;3. 
  6. Whole Person Health: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. National Institutes of Health. Last updated: May 2021. 
  7. INSIGHT: The Healthcare Industry’s Shift from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Reimbursement,” by Anne Lockner. Bloomberg Law. September 26, 2018. 
  8. Bodenheimer T and Sinsky C. From Triple fo Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider. The Annals of Family Medicine. November 2014;12(6):573-576.