By Dr. Reza Mirali, CEO, Cowork Medical.
In the past, one of the appeals of becoming a doctor was the ability to maintain professional autonomy, with the hopes that this would also offer physicians flexibility and freedom in how they run their medical practices. Unfortunately, today the economic reality is that it will take well over six figures to establish a practice, on top of the average medical school debt accumulated of $150,000 to $200,000, makes creating a profitable traditional private practice a near economic impossibility.
Coworking spaces are not a novelty, and we’ve seen them sprawl nationwide across industries and cities as organizations and technology continue to fundamentally shift how and where we work. Coworking spaces are allowing people flexibility and autonomy and at a significantly reduced cost of running a business. Borrowing from this shared economy model, medical coworking is the disruptive concept needed to revive private practice, making the possibility of self-employment realistic once again by allowing start-up costs to drop from six figures to four, and by offering much needed support to physicians in operations, administration and marketing.
The biggest barrier to entry for a new doctor to start a practice has always been real estate overhead. With a shiny medical degree, but no active patients, doctors are asked to sign multi-year leases, without any promise of immediate or even short term returns on investment. Through my experience as a new physician, it took upwards of two years to establish a solid practice and patient-base, yet during that time I still had student debt and amounting rent and operational costs.
In the coworking model (as offered by Cowork Medical), doctors pay a monthly membership fee allowing them office access, front-desk support, group purchasing discounts and business consulting services. The membership fee gives physicians access to all coworking locations, meaning that a new doctor can have a multi-location practice instantly, giving that doctor the ability to grow a client base quicker and more cost-effectively than ever possible with a traditional model.
For many physicians, business mentorship is critical and the operational support provided by coworking concepts offers immense benefits to physicians entering the business, allowing them to put a stronger focus on their client care rather than dwell on tedious administrative tasks needed to make a business thrive. Doctors are taught to save lives, not how to run a business. Simply giving them an office space to settle in will not address all the vows of establishing and running a practice. Through strategic consulting, members are able to receive immediate access to decades of experience in practice management, learning how to operate and grow a successful practice in addition to strategic marketing tools at a minimal cost.