Is Coworking Driving Innovation in Medical Office Buildings?

Over the past several years, coworking has become more and more mainstream, with the idea of traditional office hours being replaced by remote work as companies are choosing to minimize their overhead while maximizing their flexibility and efficiency. In fact, the coworking market now how thousands of players, located all over the world and coworking operations are popping up left and right amidst startups and tech companies. And while there is plenty of buzz around financial technology, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, coworking is a fast-growing subsector of the commercial real estate market that deserves some credit itself.

Forbes reports that, typically, there are three main characteristics among coworking business models:

  • Coworking operators offer different businesses, rental offices and desk spaces on s shared floor.

  • The operator provides flexible lease terms, allowing renters to move in and out and upgrade or downgrade with short notice periods.

  • The operator designs community building programs and events to create a strong business network among its renters.

But how does this trend impact the medical office landscape? Could a similar model actually work for the offices of doctors and other medical professionals? Let’s take a closer look.

When you walk into a doctor’s office, whether in a private practice or a larger medical group, you’re nearly guaranteed to see the same generic setting: a sparse waiting room, an administrative desk, the nurse’s station, exam and/or procedure rooms, and the physicians’ private offices(s). And each of these spaces contains their own unique equipment, necessary for performing all related tasks or jobs.

Most of these features are standard for medical offices, meaning that if a physician wants to go into practice, he or she should be prepared to fork out the cost for each of these areas up front -- at a significant cost. And this is all on top of the mounting costs to market a new practice and build a patient base. In fact, the debt accrued has proven to be one of the biggest deterrents to physicians opening up their own private practice.

Surely there has to be a better way, right? This is where coworking comes in.

Flexible, shared office spaces can help medical professionals realize their dream of being in private practice, while simultaneously allowing them to avoid the massive up-front costs of opening a practice. And while expanding the coworking concept into the medical space is a new idea, the basic concept is the same -- shared, common spaces that offer flexible designs that can cater to different types of physicians whenever they want to use the space, with access to on-site administrative staff and support.

And, even better, from a patient standpoint, these types of setups resemble any other type of multi-service medical practice, meaning that unless the physician chooses to disclose the arrangement, patients will have no idea that their physician doesn’t have sole occupancy of their space. Patient care is always left to the providers’ discretion, allowing them to choose the best care of their individual patients, rather than worrying about the stresses of running their practice.

Coworking is primed to revolutionize the way that healthcare and medicine approach the idea of private practice, allowing the industry to attract more physicians while also reducing the hassles of owning and operating a practice.