Midway through the nearly five-year process to open a small satellite office, a physician practice decided to build it as a coworking space that could save other doctors a similar hassle.
MedStation LLC opened in November off Route 23 in Lewis Center, with founding practice Signature Dermatology as the first tenant.
Solo or small independent groups can rent access to exam rooms – even for one day a week – on a monthly lease for the first three months before deciding whether to agree to a longer term.
“We wanted to be able to offer a solution that’s very nimble,” CEO Daniel Costanza said. “If somebody’s status changes, we can change right along with it.”
Three to four other tenants can fit in the 9,500 square feet currently built out, Costanza said, and MedStation will complete the remaining 4,500 square feet with design tweaks based on feedback from doctors using the space.
The model could appeal to a doctor establishing a first practice after completing residency, he said, or one looking to wind down a practice on the way to retirement.
Drs. Marya Cassandra and Andrea Costanza opened Signature Dermatology in Hilliard in 2009. They hired Dr. Katie Wang last fall to practice in Lewis Center. She will be joined there by a newly hired specialist in skin cancer surgery.
It took a year of searching to find land, which the partners purchased in 2017, said Daniel Costanza, who is married to Dr. Costanza. Then came civil engineering, design and the usual hurdles of a new build. The building, at 25 Hidden Ravines Drive north of Powell Road, cost more than $4 million.
Practices looking to open an office can either lease, which also brings build-out expenses plus a long-term commitment, or spend more money and time to build, Costanza said.
During the design phase, Costanza said, he read about the rise of subscription-based businesses like Netflix and thought of expanding the project to accommodate other physicians in a co-working arrangement.
He found similar setups in other states, but all designed by developers as opposed to physician leadership for MedStation. The fourth co-founder is Dr. James Cassandra, a hand surgeon married to Dr. Marya Cassandra.
The open office plan includes dictation rooms with doors and windows that can be open to other parts of the office for communication or shut for privacy. There’s also a shared on-site lab and a lobby greeter.
“It all starts with the patient. Everything we try to do is a very patient-focused way of practicing medicine,” Costanza said. “It allows (tenants) to have the focus be solely on what you went to medical school for.”
The common lobby and break room allows for serendipitous meetings among tenants to share clinical or business strategy.
“Talking through some pain points and different things we all kind of go through in private practice, that’s definitely a component of it,” he said.
The partners will assess MedStation’s success before deciding whether to build more or franchise the idea, Costanza said.
“I would love to think that’s something we could do,” Costanza said. “First I want to make sure we get this right.
“It’s about really making sure we can find other people who would be inspired by this. If we could do it the right way, that’s the only way I’d want to do more locations.”