With the cost of commercial real estate rising and healthcare providers’ needs changing, there must be room in the market for flexible, on-call space for medical professionals to see their patients.
This was the thinking of Ronak Vyas, a real estate broker who saw how friends and family in the healthcare field struggled to find space to practice that wouldn’t break the bank.
“Usually it’s a long lease with huge deposits, and landlords don’t like to subdivide a space so they usually end up getting a larger space than they need,” Vyas said. “Real estate can end up being one of the biggest expenses, right up there with payroll.”
So, after about two years of talking through a business idea that would help solve some of these problems, Vyas and cofounders Amit Mundade, Anthony Khan and Greg Goldmacher launched MedCoShare, a Fishtown-based cosharing space that offers month-to-month membership for healthcare providers.
Members can rent a private, dedicated office to see patients, or rent a room for as little as 16 hours a month. The space, at East York and Gaul streets, contains 10 rooms that can be used by primary care doctors, specialists like dermatologists, or even massage therapists.
They’re outfitted with sinks and cabinetry and exam tables, and membership comes with amenities like HIPAA-compliant storage for paper records, a common waiting room, cleaning service and access to office supplies. Healthcare providers can bring their own supplies to customize the space as needed for appointments, Vyas said.
For many years, said the real estate pro, there was a trend of hospitals buying up private practices.
“With the increase in cost of real estate, it become more expensive to start a private practice. It really became the perfect storm that killed some private practices,” Vyas said. “But the trend is reversing, you have a lot of physicians who prefer the freedom of practicing on their own.”
He sees MedCoShare as the perfect option for someone who’s working on growing their own practice, who wants to see patients part-time to spend time with family or who wants to transition into retirement. Or maybe a physician already has a location that’s servicing Center City, but wants to add a second or third location.
Vyas and the other cofounders are currently working on rolling out scheduling software for the startup to allow members to see which rooms are open and manage their time in the space. They also potentially see a dynamic pricing model in the future — a room on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. likely won’t be as in-demand as Wednesday at 5 p.m., Vyas said.
Since launching in July, the startup has brought on three medical pros and is onboarding a fourth. With the different levels of membership, Vyas said there could be anywhere from 10 to 50 physicians enrolled as members at a time, depending on how much time they each want.
The startup’s next step is to launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise between $300,000 and $500,000 for payroll and to open more locations, before looking into venture capital options or an angel investor. Membership packages can be built based on need, and start at $340 a month.-30-