As a one-time aspiring doctor, Katten special counsel Lisa Prather told Texas Lawbook in an in-depth interview why she opted for a career in law, where she continues to pursue her interest in health care. In the interview, Lisa shares her experiences as a health care attorney during the COVID-19 pandemic, talks about the rise of telehealth services and the data privacy matters that took center stage.

Telehealth was already in the works for one client, Lisa said. But the pandemic accelerated the initiative into all 50 states.

"The different legal requirements for providers in each state, as well as the rapidly changing landscape of telehealth rules and guidance, made the work challenging but interesting," Lisa told the publication. "It was rewarding to know we were helping to address immediate needs of the client as well as its patients."

When it comes to how the pandemic has impacted her practice, Lisa notes that while she doesn't see coworkers as often, she does see clients more via video calls and virtual social activities. As for health care transactions, the space is busier than ever with mergers and acquisitions and continued private equity activity. And she said, there's little doubt telehealth is here to stay. Lisa also noted the increasing demands for health information technology and focus on data monetization.

"Another rapidly evolving area is the use, and possible monetization, of health care data – how to leverage existing data for research initiatives, predictive analytics, or artificial intelligence learning – all of which have pros and cons in addition to legal complexities," she said.

The pandemic continues to be a driver of activity in the health care space.

"We have all witnessed laws and rules changing on an almost daily basis (e.g., emergency orders, temporary waivers, differing federal and state mandates, etc.), so a lot of time and effort goes into staying informed, adjusting as needed, and anticipating what might happen next," Lisa said. "Despite those challenges, providers continue to care for patients, but are trying to do so in ways that are more convenient and efficient for all involved. That is why innovations in telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and at-home care options are frequently topics of discussion with my clients." ("Q&A with Katten Healthcare Expert Lisa Prather," Texas Lawbook, December 11, 2021)