The wave of electronic health record adoption that began several years ago and brought the vast majority of health care providers into the 21st century had a lot of positive effects. However, those within the industry also recognize that more needs to be done to ensure they – and their patients – are getting as much as possible out of these document management systems.

Generally speaking, there's no "next step" for EHR evolution on the horizon, meaning there won't be some exciting new technology emerging to require a new round of adoption, according to AIthority. Instead, companies recognize that while they have adopted EHRs, they aren't getting as much out of them as they can, and need to do more to streamline their operations to get better return on their initial investment.

What are they doing?
There are many routes care providers can take toward optimization, none of them siloed off from one another, AIthority noted. These include standardizing documentation across all departments, simply reducing the amount of paperwork that has to be filed and handled or otherwise just working to improve the usability of these systems – perhaps via setting up new workflows – and the people who have access to them.

What's effective?
Another way numerous care providers are making their documentation platforms more effective is by giving patients access to their own files and encouraging them to use the portals, according to the American Medical Association. By doing so, they not only make it easier for patients to deal with their own health information and stay engaged, but also make things easier for stakeholders, be they receptionists, nurses or doctors.

With so many avenues to explore when it comes to optimizing health care document management, providers would be wise to conduct an internal audit to determine their best course of action.