3 Tips for Selecting Your Medical Practice Location
Spending hours determining the perfect location for your medical practice might have you longing for the days of house calls, but the value of a premier medical practice location is worth the hassle. At Ashton Gray, we’re experts in guiding the development of medical practice real estate. Here are a few tips we’ve learned that’ll help you find your dream medical practice location.
Research Location Demographics
Start with the big picture and find your target market. You know your practice and your typical patients. Start digging into your current practice’s patient data to determine who is visiting your practice and why. Once you have demographic data that lays out the people who need your services, the next step is to find out where they live and work (but not in a creepy way).
If you’re in pediatric care, search for areas where the population is primarily families or has a high concentration of quality school districts. If you’re in sports medicine, you can look for areas that have active populations, or a high density of universities or high schools with an emphasis on athletics.
Also, consider the growth of the community – is the population expanding or shrinking? Are new developments being built or are houses on the market for long periods of time? It’s easier to establish a relationship with a patient who has just moved to an area.
There are plenty of tools available online to research relevant demographic data, such as the United States Census Bureau. It offers stats regarding language, education, employment, health insurance, housing, and more for every community in the nation. The University of Virginia’s Guide to Publicly Available Demographic Data is another great resource for a large overview of demographic data resources. The team at Ashton Gray has years of experience providing precise and accurate demographic data for any area, nationwide. Find out more here.
Narrow the Search
Once you’ve established the general area that will suit your services, you can start to dig a little deeper into specific available locations. There are a couple of things to consider when looking at possible locations:
- Nearby Competition – Similar medical practices can be a sign that your prospective area has enough demand to support your business but there are only so many medical practices an area can support. Researching your competition’s patient wait times or online reviews can offer some insight into their performance and help you determine if there’s a gap in the community that needs to be filled.
- Accessibility + Visibility – While a town or county might be able to support your practice’s services, they’ll need to be able to access it and hear about it. Finding a location that is on the corner of a major intersection could offer high visibility but does it have enough parking or is it accessible for traffic going in either direction? Finding the right balance between practicality for your facility and visibility to market your practice is crucial. While most healthcare providers can be found online, there is something to be said for the folks that say, “Oh, I drive by that place all the time – I’ll check it out.”
Does the Location Fit You and Your Medical Practice?
Certain brands just don’t fit certain locations, you wouldn’t find a Gucci store in a strip mall. That may be an extreme example, but you should examine your practice’s brand values and determine how a location may impact them. You want to be in a location that is convenient for the patient. If you’re in family medicine, you may want to make sure the surrounding businesses reflect family values or if you’re in sports medicine, you may want to try to find an area near recreational centers.
No matter your specialty, you should make sure the location is well-maintained. A location that has excessive wear and tear or a less than ideal surrounding area may affect a patient’s desire to visit.
If you’re the primary physician or practitioner you’ll want to consider your daily commute. Are there areas nearby you’d be happy living? What about your staff? If you’re bringing existing staff from one location to this new one, does this location make sense for them? If you’re not bringing staff, maybe research employment data in the area.
There is no perfect science when it comes to choosing the right medical practice location. Each practice has to prioritize what’s most important to their business, whether it’s price, visibility, competition, accessibility, or any of the above. And even then, it’ll likely be a balancing act to satisfy every need. Take the time to do the research, it’s the surest way to achieve that warm and fuzzy feeling you’ll get when your first patient walks into your brand new location and says, “Wow.”
From concept all the way to retirement, the experts at Ashton Gray are happy to help you navigate all of the rewards of opening your very own medical office. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help.