How personalizing Expanse unlocked new opportunities for patient care at Ozarks Healthcare

August 4, 2022 |  Physician, Health IT, Patients, Care Coordination


When Ozarks Healthcare decided to go LIVE with Expanse in 2020, one of the most important parts of our plan was to have one medical record for our patients.

As a result, one of our main goals was to consolidate our specialty-focused areas into the EMR. 

During our evaluation of Expanse, we explored whether we could also incorporate our behavioral health records, which were still on paper, into the EMR. Expanse gave us the opportunity to pull behavioral health data into the electronic medical record.

Debbie Taber and Alyse Anderson, our IT application analysts, worked very closely with the behavioral health department to build a new solution within Expanse that went LIVE on January 1, 2020. 

This process posed a number of challenges — not only in meeting the needs of individual providers, but also ensuring that we could follow Missouri guidelines for behavioral health and reimbursements. From the start, it was a goal of ours to be able to personalize the system for the various clinics that we had.

Our team then considered what we were doing on paper and evaluated how we could translate those functions into the EHR system. As we went through the process, we found certain parts of the workflow that we could eliminate because the paper system required redundant documentation by clinicians.

Since the new process went LIVE, we’re seeing that it supports the continued growth of our behavioral health services at a time when Missouri, like the rest of the country, is dealing with a shortage of mental health providers.

We’ve also been able to satisfy all the confidentiality requirements that we need through workflows that allow secure reporting to the state.

These results have led us to create a new behavioral health crisis center, due to open in the third quarter of this year, that will be open to any patient with no appointment necessary. 

Our new crisis center will provide a safe place where patients can receive social support interventions and referrals to outside resources, and we're utilizing Expanse to implement that right now.

It's all about meeting the patient where they need us, and providing resources that are easily accessible to anyone.

How providers are driving innovation at Ozarks

We also recently rolled out Expanse in one of our outpatient wound care clinics, a plan that originated as a request from clinicians who utilize Expanse in their day-to-day workflows elsewhere within the organization.

Based on their experience with Expanse, our providers felt that having wound care incorporated into the platform would benefit them and their patients because of the ease of use and improved charge capture that the system offers. 

We’re also seeing how Expanse gives us a clearer picture of the patient’s medical history by making wound care records available at other Ozarks locations. 

Based on our success so far, we’re currently working to optimize billing and coding in the smaller clinic with an eye toward implementing Expanse in our primary wound care clinic.

Expanse has allowed us to achieve our goal of maintaining a single record for our patients, more effectively and smoothly than other EHRs can. We have found efficiencies by using the platform and, once we learned about its potential, we identified how to personalize Expanse to address the specific needs of our patients.

This has given Ozarks more opportunity to enhance patient care without being hampered by technical limitations, offering us the kind of potential that would otherwise be found at larger organizations with the same breadth of specialties.

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Written by Priscilla A. Frase, MD, Hospitalist/CMIO, Ozarks Healthcare

Dr. Frase is Hospitalist and CMIO at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains, MO. She has used a version of MEDITECH at every step of her health professions journey, from medical school and residency at University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN, to today.