How to Choose the Best Medical Office Space: 5 Tips

medical office
Photo by Francisco Venâncio

Finding ideal medical office space can be challenging—especially for first-timers. Plus, the medical industry is highly particular. Even more, the area is highly regulated. You must fulfill a number of factors before being allowed to open your office space. Still more, there are lots of factors that influence the type of medical space you choose. Here are vital factors to consider when shopping around for the best medical office space for rent.

Population Characteristics

people walking on street during daytime medical practice

The field of medicine is highly dependent on people. So, setting up your office in a relatively populated setting can be a producing idea. For instance, a population with more seniors is a better setting for those looking to establish medical offices. This is because the old are venerable. They get sick often. Thus, you will get more clients.

Besides age and population size, it’s essential to consider the income level of that area. Setting a medical office in high-income areas is likely to make your business succeed than its low-income counterpart.

Competition Matters a Lot

Like any business niche, the success of a medical business is hinged on the level of competition in a given area. So, don’t set up your business in a highly competitive area. The chances of succeeding are slim. Instead, take your practice to a less competitive area. Remember, competing with well-established medical companies can be a challenge. Plus, older businesses have strong customer attachment. Thus, breaking these ties can be a challenge. Eve more, competing with businesses with a huge resource muscle can be challenging.

Consider Visibility

For any business to thrive, it should be visible. That’s why you should look for an easy-to-access location. Otherwise, you will spend significant money on marketing to get more clients. So, consider establishing your business on a busy street. Find your ideal space here and kickstart your medical practice today!

Impressive Parking Ratio

Choose an office space with an ample parking lot. Customers with cars love office facilities with enough parking spaces. Have reserved parking. Dedicated spaces for the handicapped will attract more clients to your practice. You should also have pickup areas as well as drop-off points.

Aesthetics of the medical office

When it comes to medical practice, aesthetics is everything. For instance, an attractive external appearance is likely to pull more clients than a dull setting. So, work on your office’s external appearance. It’s the first impression on the side of your clients. Make it aesthetically pleasing. Also, you should work on the interiors. Have nice colors. Bring in a friendly reception desk. Include an awning. The office should be clean at all times.

A successful medical practice requires a great medical office space & location.  Your location must be accessible to patients, allow you to establish and expand your services, meet your budget, and satisfy you personally.

Healthcare providers should take care to retain a tenant representation broker experienced in leasing medical office space.  A medical office space tenant rep broker will help with the site selection (bringing more available spaces to your attention) and will understand how to structure a medical office lease so that the terms and covenants fit the needs of your practice.

5 Medical Office Design Ideas to Improve the Patient’s Experience

Poor office design means a poor experience for your patients. The medical office space design tips below will improve your patient customer satisfaction.optimized medical office

MEDICAL OFFICE TIP #1: Chairs Are Better Than Couches

Most Americans dislike sharing.  Having couches in the waiting room will make the scene more uncomfortable for your patients.  Chairs are more personal, and armless chairs are perfect for your handicapped or pregnant patients.


Television in the waiting room reduces boredom but can also add to the stress.  Patients can argue over show selection or choose programs that others consider controversial, inappropriate, or offensive.  In an age when most phones can access the internet, a waiting TV can be an unnecessary hassle for your practice.

MEDICAL OFFICE TIP #3: Choose Decor Carefully

Create a warm, positive environment with the office décor.  Use curtains and blinds to absorb sound and the room’s colors to create a cheerful, patient-friendly atmosphere.  Maximize natural sunlight (while guarding patient privacy).  Fluorescent lights spread the light evenly and are best for readers, while incandescent lights are more inviting and homely.

MEDICAL OFFICE TIP #4: Larger, Patient-Friendly Exam Rooms

The exam room should be large enough to comfortably accommodate the doctor, a nurse or assistant, the patient, and at least one family member.  The exam room should be ADA-compatible (big enough for a wheelchair) and able to fit future technology additions.   Given these requirements, the optimal size for an exam room is 10 by 10 feet; smaller-sized rooms (8 by 8 feet) will soon be obsolete.

Have the exam room door swing inward to protect the patient’s privacy. The exam table should be placed diagonally, facilitating access on both sides of the table. The exam table should also be adjustable to further keep the patient more comfortable.

MEDICAL OFFICE TIP #5: Clean Up the Waiting Room

The waiting room is the first room patients see and what they associate most with your practice.  Make it as calm, comfortable, and clean as a hotel lobby.  Pick up trash every hour.  Make sure the receptionist’s desk is clear of unnecessary papers.  Invite your patients in a friendly space.

Considerations for a Medical Office Space Search

  1. Affordability.
  2. Prices vary from submarket to submarket, property to property.  It pays to retain a tenant rep broker experienced in the local medical office space market to ensure you’ve found and negotiated the best deal.
  3. Accessibility
  4. If a doctor’s office is hidden away in a maze of side streets, it will be much more difficult for patients to find him. Ideally, patients should have to make fewer than two turns to reach the office from the highway or another major traffic artery.
  5. New Property.
  6. Newer properties (and ‘medical’ office buildings) mean making a better on your patients, who may be spending a lot of money on your services.  They are also more likely to include the necessary infrastructure for your practice.
  7. Good Parking Ratio.
  8. For practices seeing a lot of patients, a good parking ratio is a must – at least four to five parking spaces per thousand square feet to avoid overcrowding. Reserved spaces, dedicated handicapped spaces, and pick-up and drop-off spaces are a plus.
  9. Proximity to Other Physicians.
  10. The ideal situation is for all neighboring practices to inter-refer, with 100% synergy and zero competition.  Check out the practice mix to see how close to this ideal you’ll come.
  11. Ancillary Services.
  12. Ancillary services include sleep labs, MRIs, physical therapists, imaging centers, and outpatient surgery centers. Historically, hospitals have been the go-to for these types of services, but recently, doctors have been looking for places with extra office space to install these diagnostic areas.
  13. Exclusivity.
  14. A lease clause that prohibits leasing to other physicians of the same or similar specialties.
  15. Signage.
  16. Signs that distinguish your medical practice or group are always an important feature.  A developer can sometimes offer ‘top of building’ signs for their major or ‘anchor’ tenants.

The Bottom-Line

Medical office spaces aren’t like any other spaces for rent. They are particular in nature. That’s why you should do more research before settling on a particular option. Things like location, population demographics, income levels, etc. should be considered when looking for an ideal space for your medical practice. The above criteria will help you select the best office space for your medical practice.

How to Lease Medical Office Space

Most of the principles of general office lease transactions also apply to medical office lease transactions.  However, there are issues unique to medical office users which merit special consideration.

Many medical office tenants have special use requirements.  If the business uses hazardous materials or generates biomedical waste or radiation, then the tenant must document these uses in the lease to ensure compliance.

Medical tenants often see patients after normal building hours.  Healthcare providers should pay special attention to how the utilities are accounted for after normal building hours to limit excessive utility expenses.

Patients are more likely to have special access needs, and medical office properties are more likely to receive ADA scrutiny.  The medical office tenant should make sure its space and property are ADA compliant, paying special attention to the ADA clause in the lease document.

Commercial leases generally provide the landlord the right to enter the space to show the premises, inspect for compliance, and allow access for repairs.  To protect patient confidentiality, healthcare providers should limit the landlord’s access to examining rooms, patient records, and other areas.

Owners of a specialty medical practice should seek an exclusive use clause in the lease.  An exclusive use lease clause limits the landlord’s ability to lease space within the property to another party whose intended use would be in direct competition with the tenant.

Tenant improvement build-out costs are much higher for medical office users than for general office tenants.  Even a modest medical office design costs $40-$60 per square foot due to the extensive plumbing, millwork, private rooms, equipment, and ADA compliance issues; as a result of the higher costs to finish a space, medical office users tend to sign longer leases and relocate less frequently than their general office counterparts.  Medical office lease terms tend to be 7 to 10 years, allowing for a larger tenant improvement allowance.

Work with Medical Office Space Experts

It is critical for the tenant to obtain the right to use its own contractor, design, and construction professionals who are experienced and qualified in medical office construction.  Given the scale of the construction costs, the tenant will likely benefit from maintaining control of the design and construction process management.

Commercial office leases often contain provisions requiring the tenant to consent to substitute premises should the landlord decide to move the tenant from one suite in the building to another.  Given the specialized and expensive build-out of medical office space, medical office tenants should resist these provisions.

Medical office space is a significant investment for a healthcare provider. Healthcare providers should be sure to retain a knowledgeable real estate adviser to help with site selection and to negotiate a deal that fits the unique needs of the medical office user.

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