In the past, I have remarked that certain kinds of businesses and professions are poorly served by coworking spaces. These include anything that needs special equipment or environmental controls or branded space. I have also remarked that some services that require privacy, such as medical or behavioral clinics.
This summer, I read of a “coworking space for medical practice” . Hmm. Am I wrong about this? How does this work?
First of all, the facility is aimed at “private practice”, i.e., a small clinic with one or a few practitioners. Conventionally, the facility would be owned and managed by the doctors. The “coworking” space basically takes over the administrative work and expense, and provides (presumably appropriate) shared resources for all the tenants.
The company calls it “a concierge collaborative care environment.”
So, one question is, is this a “coworking space”, in the sense that most people might mean? Historically most coworking space is not “boutique”, it is very generic. Also, coworking space is classically shared, open plan workspace, not private “offices and studio space”.
On the other hand, a coworking space certainly is about sharing infrastructure, and offloading administrative responsibility to the operator. And the operator promises “a comprehensive, fully managed, operating system for medical professionals.” This apparently includes people expert in “high touch customer service and brand building experience.” (That’s not what a computer operating system is about, so the borrowed term is confusing to me. But, I digress.)
In general, the operator of coworking space aims to replace important features of a conventional workplace that are missing for independent workers: infrastructure, management, networking, a sense of community. This medical operation is doing the same thing, for a specialized kind of workplace.
So, it looks like I was wrong about coworking for medical practicing: it makes sense, at least in some cases.
In particular, it is clear that this space is aimed at “start ups”, individual or perhaps small groups of newly minted practitioners. It is also aimed at “office visits”, which require privacy but not a lot of specific facilities (labs, imaging, sterile environment, etc.)
I’ll also point out that these spaces will probably see “churn” like other coworking spaces. Doctors will move on to other spaces as the practice grows or simply to get a better deal. From the point of view of the workspace operator, this churn may or may not be any different from conventional leasing.
It appears to me that the business model is predicated on the perceived financial and administrative pain of running such an office, which I certainly am not an expert on. I can’t judge how this coworking space compares to working at a conventional clinic or other alternative.
It is obvious, though, that a lot of medical practice doesn’t fit this model for various reasons. This is also a very “boutique” operation—scarcely the coworking space down the street, filled with freelance web designers and whatnot. So my overall point is not too unreasonable: a lot of medical practice is not suited to the general coworking model.
- Natalie Kais, Clinicube Helps More Doctors Open Practice With Coworking Facility Format in PFSK. 2019. https://www.psfk.com/2019/06/clinicube-medical-coworking-space.html