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 like PracticePanther, you’ll have your business up and running in a virtual capacity in no time. Let’s look at how you can have immediate success 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. With real time client updates through PracticePanther, you’ll 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 

With customizable invoice templates, PracticePanther ensures flexibility and accuracy in your client billing process. Unlike medical patients who often have to deal with cumbersome insurance plans, your clients will pay their invoices as if they were checking out at an online retailer.

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. PracticePanther’s intuitive case management system also elevates your client communication by storing all your messages in one place. Everything from intake forms to final invoices can be accessed instantly 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. If you would like to learn more about deploying PracticePanther at your firm, you can schedule a free demo today.

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