Can Medical Coworking Bring Back The Private Practice?

Medical coworking
Medical coworking brand Clinicube aims to help physicians “take back ownership of the practice of medicine”.
  • In America, research shows a “dangerous” decline in private practice doctor’s offices, largely due to high costs and regulatory burden
  • Medical coworking spaces allow practices to share resources and reduce overhead costs
  • One example is Clinicube, founded by Noam Sadovnik, which aims “to help physicians take back ownership of the practice of medicine”

Niche coworking has been on an upwards trend for the past couple of years. Much of this is due to increased competition and consolidation in the industry; operators need to find creative ways to stand out in saturated markets.

The good news is that experts believe that corporate coworking and niche spaces are the future of the workspace industry. One of the reasons why niche coworking is desirable is that it allows operators to hone in on their services and offerings; niche spaces require a specific target audience, one with very specific needs that often times larger workspace brands aren’t able to deliver on.

One particular new wave of niche coworking that seems to be gathering strength is medical coworking. Back in 2016, Reed Wilson — CEO of Private Practice Doctors LLC — published an article that explained why he believed the private practice was dying.

“There is a dangerous trend underway in American healthcare: The death of the private practice doctor’s office. This is a deliberate trend driven primarily by federal policymakers, and it does not bode well for either the cost of healthcare or the health of individual patients.”

Reed attributes most of this problem to two factors under the Affordable Care Act. “The first are the financial incentives that favor consolidation over independence. The second is the law’s increased regulatory burden, which threatens to overwhelm private practices.”

The above is confirmed by a 2012 survey by the Doctor Patient Medical Association that found that “95% of physicians see corporate medicine supplanting the traditional private practice.” A 2016 study later found that “less than half of practicing physicians in the U.S. owned their medical practice in 2016, marking the first time that the majority of physicians are not practice owners.”

While consolidation and corporate culture often leads to standardization and data-driven decisions, there is a downside to the death of the private practice.

“One of the greatest benefits of private practice is that doctors and patients have much more freedom in how they interact — the essence of the doctor-patient relationship. It is a deeply-personal environment that depends on conversation and working together. In large practices, these interactions are typically guided by rote formulas and directives devised by administrators. Doctors necessarily lose some ability to tailor treatments and prescriptions to individual patients’ unique needs,” Reed argues.

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The issue, however, isn’t necessarily just due to policy making. There is also the issue of cost in the medical field. “Consultants estimate that the cost to launch a small primary care practice ranges from $70,000 to more than $100,000 — an estimation that includes the money needed for rent, insurance, payroll, and living expenses for the first few months.”

How Coworking Can Help

One of the reasons coworking has been an attractive solution for startups and entrepreneurs across industries is the fact that sharing space means sharing resources, which helps reduce overhead costs. as Coworking has helped chefs, musicians, and lawyers remain independent, and it can do the same for medical practitioners.

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Clinicube is an accelerator and shared workspace for private practices.

Clinicube is a recent entrant into the world of medical coworking. Founded by Noam Sadovnik, Clinicube’s goal is “to help physicians take back ownership of the practice of medicine.” Sadovnik told Allwork.Space that the “concept grew out of the well established practice of informal office sharing within the medical community. New doctors, those establishing part time or new private practices would often use extra space in more established offices.”

Sadovnik has been refining and honing his offering for eight years. In 2010 he launched The Center for Integrative Practices, the first iteration of Clinicube. Operating The Center for Integrative Practices allowed Sadovnik to learn and identify which needs were most critical to the success of new and established practitioners.

Clinicube was designed so that it could adapt and suit the needs of multiple types of practices, and Sadovnik mentions that “having an intimate knowledge of the clinical practice setting was invaluable in modifying architectural plans to better refine the functionality of the space.”

One of the reasons why medical coworking is a viable and attractive solution for independent practitioners is that it provides not only the necessary physical infrastructure, but it also provides the necessary technological and administrative support needed to comply with regulations, operate a practice, and manage information.

Operators seeking to enter the medical coworking arena need to consider verticals such as HIPAA compliance, EHR, and billing and collections. Then there’s also the topic of image; practitioners want to be independent, which means the space has to allow for individual practice branding. Other than that, independent practitioners are hoping to compete with large medical companies, so providing help with  marketing, patient referral, and public relations issues can add value to your space.