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Forward thinkers: PI firms should embrace technological innovations to remain competitive

As innovations become more readily accessible, clients will demand a more tech-forward approach

Forward thinkers: PI firms should embrace technological innovations to remain competitive

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It’s no secret the legal world moves slowly in most things, and embracing technology is no exception. But as the market changes and innovations are more readily accessible, law firms should prepare for clients demanding a more tech-forward approach.

“Law shouldn’t be stagnant — we shouldn’t be doing the same work the same way today that we did 20 years ago,” says Charles Gluckstein, partner at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers. "We can do it much better and provide a better service for our clients.”

Gluckstein, who’s been intrigued by computers since childhood and says he’s “always had that bend to wanting the latest and greatest technology,” is ahead of the curve when it comes to combining the traditional law office model with cutting edge solutions. Fifteen years ago he started pushing his firm — which still relied on fax machines, typewriters and photocopiers — to use a paperless solution and work on a digital platform.

Over the years Gluckstein became involved with the tech companies that were bringing their products into the marketplace, keeping up with the latest innovations that could make his business more productive. In turn, he’s often asked for his input on what’s needed to help his firm run better.

“I feel like I get a bit of a leading-edge view of what’s next, and I’m always looking to innovate and see what else we can do to be more productive and efficient,” Gluckstein says.

One of the most labour intensive tasks of running a personal injury firm is building the file with the documents needed to prove a case, which typically involves copious amounts of medical records and, especially with a complex case, can be a massive undertaking. It would take, on average, a day of work for a staff member to request all the required records, and Gluckstein notes it’s not the most exciting part of the job either. He was “very excited” when Medchart, a software that enables the electronic transfer of medical records through express patient consent, came onto the scene. The company has affiliations with much of the medical community as well as hospitals, health care providers, non-medical healthcare providers and pharmacies to take care of that interchange.

“No longer do you have to look up the addresses of each provider, write a letter, get authorization for each provider and handle the payment side too,” Gluckstein says. “Those are four different processes that Medchart wraps into pretty much one click, and hours of time which is saved by their innovation.”

Mike Dull, litigation lawyer at Valent Legal, says his firm embraced technology a few years ago to leverage the efficiencies and the systemization that come with it. His personal approach to technology is to try everything, and be OK with being uncomfortable because “nothing new is easy at first — but once you’re efficient at it, you can’t imagine doing it any other way.”

While embracing new technologies requires a willingness to take a leap of faith and make investments in terms of cost and training time at the start, Dull says he’s has seen significant returns having made those commitments. Another firm making the most of Medchart’s capabilities, Dull says the software company has done a great job of integrating its services within Valent’s document management software and helped make the office truly paperless.

“When we get documents from Medchart for our clients, it goes right into our document management software electronically and saves time in terms of opening letters, scanning, uploading, shredding — it’s eliminated those man-hours,” he says. "The efficiencies that’s created within our office has been hugely beneficial.”

The company recently launched an artificial intelligence component to its US software which can analyze records in more depth, providing “insights and connections that allow firms to use records in a new and more effective way,” and Gluckstein predicts Medchart’s capabilities will only continue to grow. It’s said “it takes one to know one” and for Gluckstein, the Medchart team’s approach to technology mirrors his own.

“The company is constantly looking to improve their product, constantly looking at what other efficiencies they can bring,” he says. “That’s why I like associating with this company — I have that same vision. I really like that their company is an innovator and is always looking for improvement, as am I.”

Whatever the future may hold, to remain competitive and provide the best service to clients, moving to digital services is the logical choice, Dull notes, adding that firms that embrace available efficiencies will be ahead in the long run compared to firms that still charge clients huge costs for photocopying, for example.

“Medchart’s been hugely helpful for us in terms of leveraging the benefits of technology and all the efficiencies that are possible with a paperless office,” he says. “We consider them an important partner in terms of what we do as a modern firm in the year 2021.”

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