Who has time for illness or injury? No one. Neither the people directly affected by cold, flu or more long-term ailments, nor their employers. Sickness is also expensive, both in lost work productivity and in actual dollars. According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, illness winds up costing employers approximately $530 billion per year and 1.4 billion days worth of employee absences. That’s the equivalent of every registered nurse in the U.S. being on sick leave for a full year.

Some employers are finding innovative ways to invest in their workers’ wellness. Case in point: Mohawk Industries.

Headquartered in Calhoun, Georgia, Mohawk Industries specializes in the manufacture of flooring, carpeting, tile, hardwoods and softwoods for homeowners and business owners alike. Their products canvas the world, with sales in over 170 countries, manufacturing facilities in 19 of them and an employee base of nearly 39,000.

In addition to providing their workers with healthcare benefits (roughly 56 percent of Americans get their health insurance through their employer, according to the most recent Census data) Mohawk has on-site clinics at many of its manufacturing facilities.

“Mohawk’s healthcare spend trend over the last nine years has averaged just 2% per employee.”

The clinics themselves aren’t new, but in 2009, the company restructured them so they’d be more comprehensive.

Phil Brown, senior vice president of human resources at Mohawk Industries, said the goal of these clinics since their creation is twofold: reducing costs and providing staff members with easier access to healthcare. “Healthy people cost less so why not make them healthier?” said Brown. “Our vision is to have the healthiest and safest population possible, so our health management strategy is to engage people in understanding their health conditions and providing them access to [those] services.”

Clinics proving effective in enhancing engagement

These clinics – or Healthy Life Centers, as Mohawk calls them – provide employees and their family members with a wide range of health services, including physicals, preventive screenings, urgent care for colds and flu, management for chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension as well as routine vaccinations for adults. The Healthy Life Centers also provide virtual medicine utilizing secure video conferencing capabilities. Mohawk employees can take advantage of telemedicine through their mobile device, which connects them to attending physicians. They can get diagnosed for various health concerns any time, anywhere.

These optimizations have paid dividends as workers are taking advantage of these conveniences both for preventive and treatment-related reasons.

“[The clinics] have gone from seeing about 15,000 people a year to over 50,000 appointments in 2018,” Brown explained. “When we started to change our population health strategy, one element of that was the management of electronic health records in our clinics.”

Keeping workers healthy – or on the road to recovery – requires documentation so healthcare providers are all in the loop on the patients they see. This saves time and enhances efficiency. EMRs do just that, as nearly 90 percent of office-based physicians use an EMR, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. EMRs were one component of the on-site clinic restructuring, a process that began in earnest in 2012.

“We were trying to create clinical integration so we could pull all of our data about a member in our health plan into one source, with the healthcare professionals, at that time, being at our clinics,” said Brown.

Clinical integration made possible through Tangible

Tangible serves as the host for these electronic medical records, providing Mohawk with the technological capabilities to make authentic collaborative community care a reality. Brown said that the relationship between Mohawk and Tangible Solutions started in 2012, but it’s expanded ever since, as the company has come to realize the value and indispensability of integrated medicine.

“It became clear over time that we needed a Clinically Integrated Network so in addition to bringing in claims data, we also wanted to collect data at the point of care,” Brown said. “In order to do that, we needed a vehicle to create [a Health Information Exchange] to collect that data.”

Clinically Integrated Networks (CIN) are increasingly popular among healthcare providers because they provide the structure and security that enables the sharing of data to improve performance, efficiency and quality.

Because of HIPAA laws, however, CINs are highly regulated and must adhere to certain mandates before they can be organized. Tangible had the know-how and understanding of what guidelines needed to be followed and what technologies made clinical integration possible.

Brown noted that Tangible helped Mohawk execute their integration plan by effectively handling the tech and compliance complexities in a cost-effective manner.

“We as a manufacturer don’t have the healthcare tech background to think about the strategy,” Brown pointed out. “Tangible has been helpful in guiding us down this path and is a partner in the process of connecting all the practices. Tangible is more knowledgeable about what each practice needs technically. They are the technical interface between each practice’s medical records.”

Network of over 1,200 physicians

The network – or “neighborhood,” as Brown refers to them – that Tangible helped put in place includes 34 unique software providers. This neighborhood now includes approximately 1,250 physicians at eight different hospitals and medical offices around the country. Even though providers may use the same software, their connections usually differ. Tangible essentially serves as the interpreter so all the systems can communicate with one another.

“Tangible plays a lead role in understanding their technical needs,” said Brown. With over $9 billion in worldwide sales in 2017, it’s safe to say that Mohawk is pleased with its on-site clinics, keeping more of its indispensable employees on the job, thereby improving productivity. Nearly 70 percent of its workers have access to the clinics right where they work. The return on investment has been considerable from a cost perspective as well. Brown said that through biometrics and other health management solutions, Mohawk’s healthcare spend trend over the last nine years has averaged 2 percent per employee. The average is 6 percent.

Tangible Solutions is your go-to solution provider that can help your business and your employees do what they do best. We offer a wide range of IT solutions that take the fuss and complexity out of employee health management. Contact us to learn more.

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