November 30, 2021

Volume XI, Number 334

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November 29, 2021

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What Lawyers Can Learn from the Rise of Telehealth

Like most industries during the COVID-19 pandemic, law firms have been forced to take their operations online. In a field dominated by face-to-face interactions which build trust and create mutual understanding, the absence of this basic human function poses a major challenge. Simple technology so far has been the key replacement for today’s attorney-client relationships, but law firms need more than email and cell phones to run their practices these days.

Much like lawyers, doctors have faced similar challenges of needing to continue to provide quality care and service, while doing so virtually. Luckily for doctors, the infrastructure of telemedicine was already at their fingertips, though adoption of the service was extremely low before the onset of COVID-19. Virtual visits are now estimated to top 1 billion by the end of 2020 based on Forrester’s analysis. What can lawyers learn from telehealth’s initial growing pains and subsequent successes in order to make their practices efficient and effective? 

The Rise of Digital Care

Telemedicine is broadly defined as the use of electronic communications and software to monitor and treat patients in lieu of an in-patient visit. At its simplest form it sounds like a quick and convenient way to meet with your doctor, and in an on-demand world, it seems to be a no-brainer from a patient's perspective. So why was adoption so low upon the initial roll out? 

Lack of Awareness

66% of people interviewed by J.D. Power in 2019 said they were not aware of telehealth services or it was not available to them.

Fear of Costs

Many insurance providers made it harder for patients and doctors alike to use telemedicine by only offering certain visits via telehealth. Doctors were also getting paid less and more slowly for these appointments.

Desire for in-person care

When you're not feeling well, being reassured by another human can be some of the best medicine which often does not translate very well to an app experience.

Of course many of our habits and rules went out the window in March of 2020 and adoption of telehealth has increased out of pure necessity. Just as patients still need to visit with their doctors regularly, clients still need services from lawyers. Here are a few ways COVID-19 is affecting law firms.

How Lawyers Can Replicate Success

Law firms can’t wait 10 years for the adoption of a digital practice, and building one from scratch isn’t in the cards either. By automating your firm with law practice management software, you can have your business up and running in a virtual capacity in no time. Let’s look at how you can have immediate success with this technology as opposed to the slow burn of telemedicine.

Lack of Awareness

One of the quickest ways to grow your client list is through word-of-mouth recommendations. In the same J.D. power survey of telemedicine users, they found that “positive recommendations from others led nearly two-thirds (65%) of telehealth users to try the service.” The key to gaining a customer by word-of-mouth is to first provide quality service, and in a remote world, that often means quick response times and seamless interactions. Today’s law practice management tools allow you to be alerted when any changes are made to a clients account, resulting in faster service. If your client feels that attention, they’ll be more likely to recommend your firm to their peers.

Fear of Costs

Unlike medical patients who often have to deal with cumbersome insurance plans and third party collections teams, your clients should pay their invoices as if they were checking out at an online retailer. With increased transparency thanks to the speed and accuracy of online payment functions which many law firms are adopting, clients won’t feel apprehensive or overwhelmed about the money they owe.

Desire for in-person care

While telehealth can’t replicate the reassuring touch of a doctor, it does open up a great line of communication. Today’s case management tools elevate your client communication by storing all your messages in one place. The days of sifting through binders, then scrolling through email, and finally browsing a rolodex are over. Everything from start to finish of a case or matter can be accessed instantly with today’s technology so you can maintain a full picture of your clients’ needs as if you were in the room together. 

Just as doctors have embraced telehealth and finally seen the tools take off, law firms will see the same benefits as they begin to transition online. Practice management software can help your firm gain word-of-mouth clients in a digital world through quick service thanks to real time updates, create client trust through financial transparency, and ensure smooth communication via powerful CRM’s.

© Copyright 2021 PracticePantherNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 345
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About this Author

Dan Bowman Marketing Manager PracticePanther

Dan Bowman is the Product Marketing Manager at PracticePanther, an all-in-one legal practice management software. He is responsible for understanding customers and reaching them through creative go-to-market campaigns. With a passion for storytelling, Dan enjoys bringing people together to learn about new and exciting product features that help them grow as people and professionals.

215-896-8942
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