The current health care environment is not as conducive to private practice medicine as it once was. Now, private practice health care professionals are faced with a web of complex, insurance-centric, risk-laden, financially challenging obstacles that divert time and resources away from doing what they do best: practice medicine.
In fact, according to the American Medical Association, the number of doctors in private practice has been steadily declining. In 2018, an estimated 54% of doctors were working in their own practices. That number dropped to 49% in 2020.
One of the solutions for many health care professionals has been—and continues to be—medical coworking: an innovative, flexible office space model adapted to the needs of medical professionals in private practice, where they can share space, community, and resources. This cost-effective and sustainable model not only allows professionals to retain their independence but lets them focus on what they do best: provide high-quality patient care.
Here are five key reasons why medical coworking is appealing:
1. Fewer operational and financial challenges
Medical coworking alleviates some of the operational and financial burdens faced in traditional private practices that can impose considerable strain on practitioners, especially those in the early stages of their careers. The monetary investments range from substantial security deposits to the procurement of costly office equipment. Additionally, existing leases, coupled with the setup and maintenance of office spaces, exacerbate these challenges. Through a collaborative workspace, medical coworking eradicates these overhead expenses, giving practitioners the freedom to dedicate their resources and attention to delivering exemplary patient care.
2. Greater independence and flexibility
Coworking spaces also establish an environment that fosters independence while encouraging practitioners to operate on their own terms. This level of autonomy is paramount for professionals who seek to run their practice according to their unique vision and style of care. By providing a setting where practitioners control their own schedules, services, and patient interactions, medical coworking empowers them to deliver care that aligns with their values and expertise. This freedom not only fosters innovation but enables practitioners to explore novel approaches to patient care, leading to more comprehensive and tailored health care solutions.
3. Encouraging community and networking
Isolation is a formidable challenge for independent practitioners. Medical coworking addresses this issue by providing a way for practitioners to connect, bond, and forge professional relationships and friendships. Doctors can leverage this network to enhance their practice and improve patient care through referrals and partnerships with other providers. Additionally, the diverse expertise within a medical coworking space provides a valuable resource for those seeking advice, second opinions, and even potential collaborations, enriching the depth and quality of care delivered.
4. An infrastructure tailored to health care professionals
Conventional coworking spaces may cater to a diverse range of professionals, yet they lack the capacity to address the individual requirements of health care providers. Elements such as soundproofing, privacy, patient confidentiality, specialized medical equipment, and adherence to regulatory standards like HIPAA and OSHA, hold vital importance for health care practitioners. Medical coworking spaces are specifically crafted with these particular demands in mind, creating an environment that supports the needs and well-being of both patients and practitioners.
5. Streamlined administrative support
Medical coworking offers simplified services that support practitioners and allow them to focus on patient care. Services such as patient check-in, mail, HIPAA- and OSHA-compliant spaces, fully certified staff, secure Wi-Fi networks, and other essential details, free practitioners from these responsibilities. This approach enables health care professionals to optimize their time and resources, ultimately leading to more efficient and effective patient care.
The big win: combating burnout and restoring work-life balance
Recent research has revealed a concerning pattern driving the decline of private practice: A surge in fatigue and burnout rates among health care practitioners. As per the AMA, nearly 63% of physicians report experiencing signs of fatigue, including emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, on a weekly basis. The demands of operating a private practice, in conjunction with providing high-quality patient care, have emerged as significant contributors to this phenomenon. These factors can result in reduced job satisfaction, diminished productivity, and potentially jeopardize patient well-being.
In an era of evolving health care, medical coworking stands as one viable solution for independent practitioners. By alleviating operational burdens, fostering independence, providing a sense of community, and offering tailored infrastructure and comprehensive administrative support, medical coworking empowers practitioners to deliver high-quality care while maintaining their autonomy. Through this approach, we have the potential to not only reverse the decline of private practice, but also pave the way for a more vibrant and sustainable future for health care professionals as well as improved quality and delivery of patient care.