Matter Management in Healthcare: A Cure for the Common Chaos

The intersection between the medical and legal professions brings unique challenges, but matter management assists to provide visibility, generate meaningful data and highlight the value of healthcare Legal Departments.


To be sure, during the pandemic, no industry withstood more stress or change than healthcare.   

But even now, as COVID-19 wanes, many organizations’ Legal Departments remain in triage mode, managing a host of challenges facing healthcare teams: staffing shortages, aging communities, rapidly advancing technologies, personal privacy concerns, and more.   

Indeed, the intersection of the medical and legal professions brings unique challenges to the domain of in-house counsel, from risk management to the regulatory landscape to the ever-present threat of litigation.  

To stay on top of this unwieldy pile of issues – and to prevent in-house burnout – it’s imperative legal teams in the health sector find new ways to collaborate, report and improve productivity. 

How can matter management help?

In an industry that’s working hard to do more with less, faster than ever before, and with an ever-changing set of rules, matter management helps by first bringing visibility and transparency (and perhaps sanity) to the workload; then, by facilitating better communication with business clients and delivering meaningful data metrics; and finally, by generating substantive reports that show the Legal Department’s value.  

How do you know if you need matter management? To borrow from the healthcare lexicon, there are some symptoms that should be alarming:  

  • You are not exactly sure who is doing what; 
  • You feel like you are drowning in repetitive work – and constantly reinventing the wheel; 
  • You are unable to produce accurate reports or meaningful dashboards for the C-suite; 
  • You struggle to stay on budget; 
  • You are the subject of complaints from business clients, who claim Legal is too slow and/or unresponsive;
  • You have no actionable metrics to empower trend-spotting or quantify needs; 
  • Your team is flailing, if not failing. 

These all are common conditions for health industry in-house legal, but they are not fatal; the right matter management approach can provide fast relief. 

Aligning with the C-Suite

By taking control of matter management, healthcare Legal Departments will align themselves with many of the priorities set forth by industry CEOs.  

According to the healthcare portion of the EY 2022 CEO Outlook Survey, the industry’s top three strategic drivers will be: 

  • The use of technology and automation to improve scalability: 31 percent; 
  • Increased customer interactions through digital platforms and touchpoints: 27 percent; and 
  • Reduced complexity of the business: 13 percent. 

While matter management will not be on the front lines of patient care, the right legal matter management platform will place the Legal Department in step with these C-suite goals. The new technology can improve the scalability of the legal team by streamlining administrative tasks – saving lawyer time for true lawyer tasks. By automating many steps of intake, triage and reporting, matter management actually increases touch points between the Legal Department and the business, driving communication and responsiveness.

Finally, by providing an easy way to analyze the strategic value of the Legal Department’s workload, matter management helps to identify ways to reduce complexity by finding tasks that may be automated or eliminated. 

Amid unprecedented change, the EY report states that “[health care leaders] can consider reconfiguring their internal ecosystems to nurture innovation, growth and resilience.” 

Surely, in 2023 that can include corporate lawyers, too.

 

Are you ready for Modern Matter Management? 

If you do not yet have a modern matter management platform, this can be an effective foundation for the “Justify Your Existence” conversation with your C-suite. Our Modern Matter Management eBook contains a list of signs your legal department is ready for modern matter management, as well as checklists and project plan templates to help you to assess your needs, evaluate software options, and craft successful implementation plans.

 

 

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