In recent decades, occupational medicine services has come to be treated as a stand-alone medical discipline as experts have realized that injuries and illnesses caused by an individual’s working conditions often require specialized care and treatment.
There are several factors that an employer should consider when selecting an occupational medicine practice to serve employees.
One obvious feature that every business client should look for in an occupational medical provider is a professional, competent team trained to provide a range of occupational medical services. Occupational medicine is becoming increasingly specialized and professionals offering care in this field should be up-to-date on the most current treatment practices and technologies. Knowledge of governmental regulations regarding occupational medicine services and occupational safety, as well as familiarity with private and public insurance systems, is also important. Use of urgent care or multi-specialty practices has proven NOT to be ideal in producing efficient outcomes.
Reasons for Care
Before choosing a medical practice, an employer should examine the reasons that the company uses occupational medicine. Some employers only require certain services, such as pre-employment and on-the-job drug testing, while other companies employ people to work in dangerous conditions that frequently lead to workplace injuries. Employers whose workers are exposed to hazardous chemicals require a medical practitioner equipped to provide comprehensive physical examinations and extensive laboratory analysis of blood, hair and other tissues. Some employers require a range of occupational medical services, making it important for these employers to find an occupational medicine practice that offers many different services under one roof.
Convenient Locations and Operating Hours
Finding an occupational medicine provider near a company’s place of business makes receiving medical care convenient for both the employer and the employee. Every minute an employee spends waiting in a doctor’s office is time away from work or time not spent recuperating at home. Practices that accept walk-in patients as well as appointments also add convenience because being injured on the job cannot be predicted. Quality occupational medicine practices will offer 24-hour access via phone to provide medical advice in the event a work injury occurs outside of the normal nine-to-five workday.
In addition to providing pre-employment health services and care for injured workers, occupational medicine specialists may also be available to also consult with human resources personnel and workplace safety coordinators to enhance overall workplace safety and promote worker health. Health and wellness fairs may also be offered to larger employers to promote general employee health and provide services such as flu shots and other immunizations.
For many employers, establishing a working relationship with a local occupational medicine practitioner is the best way to provide convenient, high-quality care to employees. Taking the time to find the right care provider can ensure that employees remain happy with their employer and enjoy good health even in the most challenging work environments.