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“If we really want to improve health on a large scale, especially with populations distrustful of the health care system, it seems we need to go to where they are.” — Aaron E. Carroll, "What Barbershops Can Teach About Delivering Health Care"
The New York Times
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that outcomes improved when blood pressure tests and recommendations were made to customers at a local barbershop. Why barbershops? As New York Times writer Aaron E. Carroll notes in an article covering the study, it’s because they represent a trusted space within the community where peers gather for convenient services.
Like barbershops, on-site clinics promise convenient, accessible care for a specific community: an organization’s employees. When executed effectively, the most effective clinics provide care by developing trusted relationships and promoting a network of support inside and outside the clinic’s walls.
Let’s take a deeper look at the parallels between on-site clinics and barbershops.
Carroll notes, “Getting barbers involved meant health messages came from trusted members of the community.” Just like barbershops serve their local community, on-site clinics are devoted to your organization. That connection allows unique relationships to form between providers and patients because providers are dedicated to and focused on the needs of the community they serve.
“One reason that an experiment to reduce high blood pressure in a high-risk population succeeded is that it adapted its approach to encourage trust,” says Carroll.
The relationship between a barber and his customer is built over time and with regular visits. For many people, a visit to their barber happens more frequently than a visit to their provider. On-site clinics change that.
On-site clinics foster high engagement because increased utilization translates to improved health outcomes. That utilization allows clinic providers and staff to form more meaningful relationships with their patients. With better relationships, patients are more likely to comply with provider recommendations.
Barbershops are local institutions, typically serving the community directly around them because of simple convenience. On-site clinics work in the same way. When a patient’s access to preventive care, health coaching, and generic prescriptions all exist within steps of their desk, utilization goes up. Convenient access means employees don’t have to choose between taking a day off work and seeing their provider.
Community barbershops are not just places to grab a haircut, they’re also safe spaces to gather with and be supported by your peers. On-site clinics are no different. Clinics integrate into a company’s culture and become a source of guidance for healthy, peer-supported initiatives like bike-to-work months, flu shots, cancer screenings, or fitness challenges.
Learn how community support, convenience, and access go into creating a better solution for employers looking to combat the rising cost of healthcare. Check out our eBook: Employer’s Guide to Healthcare.
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