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This post uses three case studies in the areas of law, health, and education to explore digital transformations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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How much digital ink has already been spilled concerning the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Enough to populate an entire library, probably. Certainly enough for future generations to study the topic extensively, parsing out how the global event changed—or didn’t change—various aspects of daily life.
Adding to the growing corpus of internet articles, this post takes a more granular approach. Here, let’s consider, in specific, how COVID influenced and fast-tracked a transition to digital and virtual services across industries. How did businesses change to meet the demands of clients, customers, and adjoining businesses in the face of an unprecedented global event?
Perhaps the best way to do that is to distill the widescale transformation into three case studies. Each of these examines a specific sector. Below, let’s look at digital transformations in law, health, and education.
Online Legal Services
Online law isn’t an invention of the pandemic. It existed well before March 2020. Pre-pandemic, virtual law firms initially gained popularity due to the quality of their services. For instance, online legal services from Axess Law became popular because the firm offered (and still offers) transparent, fixed pricing, all-day accessibility. Plus, it has a tech-friendly approach and a customer-focused philosophy.
During the pandemic, that popularity spiked even higher. Suddenly, people needed a way to conduct business safely in a contactless environment. (Even in the midst of a pandemic, people still need legal help.) Consequently, many clients sought the services of online law firms that already had a robust digital infrastructure in place. The digital transformation in this sector had to do, then, with the numbers of people who sought legal help online.
The legal industry is also linked to other sectors that moved toward digital spaces before and during the pandemic. For instance, real estate services largely transitioned to virtual spaces in the past year and a half. Therefore, homebuyers and sellers sought real estate legal services that were also online.
Digital Transformations in Telehealth
Like online legal services, telehealth isn’t new. Advocates for accessible healthcare have championed telehealth (sometimes called telemedicine) for years. Telehealth helps medical professionals reach a broader range of people with health promotion and personalized medical information.
During the pandemic, telehealth underwent a digital transformation, just as the legal sector did. That is, it took on a whole new level of importance. It became a way to offer ongoing patient care without risking the in-person spread of the virus. Further, professionals used telehealth advancements to aid in triaging and diagnosing patients with COVID-19.
Historically, once the health industry moves forward with new technologies, it doesn’t move back. Therefore, industry spectators expect telehealth to play an increasingly central role in medicine in the future.
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s important to note that e-learning existed well before the pandemic. But again, a digital transformation washed over online education as online schools gained popularity. They became the accessible, bully-free, self-paced, distraction-free alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions.
One novel development of the past year-and-a-half is that public schools have begun embracing e-learning. Once the purview of private online schools, e-learning has become a viable model for broad public education.
While some students certainly struggled with the shift toward online learning in the past year, others thrived. This has forced many educational boards to consider hybrid models for in-class and online learning.
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Digital Transformations in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Taking stock of the full effects of COVID-19 on digital transformation would take an entire book-length project. Nevertheless, these three case studies should illustrate why sectors moved toward digitization initially. And how the pandemic helped further popularize and legitimize digitization.
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