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Supporting mental health and wellness with innovative hybrid IT

Mental Health Center of Denver utilizes a hybrid IT solution with colocation, hosted public cloud and professional services to deliver mental well-being support across 35 locations. 

Mental Health Center of Denver logo

“We are working to help people with their mental health by addressing the whole person, including the social determinants of health. People can and do get better from mental illness. Everyone should be able to live a fulfilled life.”

Mental Health Center Denver

The challenge

Persistently increasing IT costs divert funds from well-being support and practices 

Mental Health Center of Denver is dedicated to providing the Denver community with outstanding support and programs to improve the well-being of its residents. With patient records and its scheduling software online, the organization is largely reliant on technology to conduct business, improve efficiencies and deliver innovative programs to treat its patients across all its locations. Simply put, downtime brings Mental Health Center of Denver’s mission to a halt as it cannot schedule appointments, access records or offer technology-driven programs. 

When Mental Health Center of Denver initially outgrew its on-premise IT environment, it opted to outsource its infrastructure to a hosted private cloud provider. Over the years, the costs associated with this solution continued to escalate, diverting dollars from important customer-facing opportunities such as hiring additional case managers. To better control its IT expenses, Mental Health Center of Denver reevaluated its infrastructure to find a solution that offered a more predictable and steady cost structure. 

The solution

A hybrid IT solution of colocation, security, and professional services support well-being mission 

After evaluating various infrastructure options, Mental Health Center of Denver migrated to a hyperconverged infrastructure, combining a hosted public cloud with Flexential security, colocation and disaster recovery services. With a footprint in the Flexential Denver - Aurora data center to support its production environment and another in the Dallas - Richardson facility for disaster recovery, Mental Health Center of Denver receives a level of security, geodiversity and redundancy it could not achieve on its own. 

Offering redundant power and cooling, Flexential minimizes downtime to ensure Mental Health Center of Denver can access patient records, schedule appointments and continue to develop innovative programs that promote its mission. The geographic diversity of its data centers provides an additional assurance that a localized event will not impact the other facility. 

Governed by stringent HIPAA regulations as well as PCI DSS and other regulatory mandates, Mental Health Center of Denver must take precautions to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its patient records. Flexential data centers are audit-ready and feature advanced security protocols, including biometric identification, 24/7 surveillance, card readers and more to deliver the security and compliance the healthcare provider requires. 

To further bolster its security and compliance posture and minimize risk, Mental Health Center of Denver utilizes Flexential managed security services. This customized security support offers 24/7 incident response, ensuring Mental Health Center of Denver receives an immediate response from Flexential to help mitigate a cyberattack. This is paramount for Williams, who acknowledges cybersecurity is always a top concern. 

Mental Health Center of Denver also uses Flexential Cyber Security Program Management services to provide thought leadership and guidance on its internal information security program. This includes reviewing existing policies and recommending, developing and implementing new cybersecurity and compliance policies that strengthen the organization’s security and compliance posture. 

The results

Colocation drives down IT costs to stay ahead of the technology and innovation curve

The move to Flexential colocation reversed a four-year trend of escalating IT expenses, taming costs by 40% across its colocation and desktop-as-a-service solution. These recouped dollars were filtered into clinical service delivery to allow Mental Health Center of Denver to hire additional case managers and deliver more impactful programs. In fact, Mental Health Center of Denver was able to serve an additional 1095 people year over year from 2017 to 2018. 

Flexential colocation also provides an agility that was previously lacking as Mental Health Center of Denver can now quickly implement changes to improve efficiency. “In our private cloud environment, if we wanted to make a change, we put in a change request,” explained Williams. “Now we’re in charge. Our IT infrastructure team can spin up a new server in the same day when it might have taken months previously.” 

As a forward-thinking organization, Mental Health Center of Denver is always looking for new, innovative ways to use technology to improve processes and better serve the Denver community. Flexential’s ability to seamlessly handle the back-end infrastructure provides Williams and his team with more time, money and resources to achieve its vision. 

Ensuring community members get the services needed to live fulfilled lives

By leveraging its technology and reinvesting these resources, Mental Health Center of Denver was able to expand its electronic health records to include patient risk information from its data warehouse, giving clinicians a clear picture of risk factors associated with suicidality for the people with whom they are working. Mental Health Center of Denver also launched an Innovation Lab where the team is exploring how technology might increase access, drive patient engagement and improve treatment efficacy through telehealth innovations like chat-based therapy, virtual care check-ins through text messaging, and the use of virtual reality for mindfulness practice and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

“I’ve been spending a lot of time focusing on these innovations,” said Williams, who plans to roll out one innovation per quarter. “I would never have been allowed to explore how technology can fundamentally change clinical practice if I didn’t have my basic infrastructure nuts-and-bolts house in order. Having a secure, stable information infrastructure behind me, allows me to focus on next-level technology innovations.” 

One of these innovations is the organization’s Co-Responder program, which joins Mental Health Center of Denver social workers with Denver law enforcement. Equipped with access to its comprehensive database, social workers respond to calls with police officers and provide insight into patients’ risk histories and risk factors – more effectively and quickly connecting patients to the services they need. 

Today, Mental Health Center of Denver remains committed to ensuring members of the community get the services needed to live fulfilled lives, and Flexential services help them achieve that mission. 

Mental Health Center of Denver

Founded more than 30 years ago, Mental Health Center of Denver’s mission is to enrich lives and minds by focusing on strengths and well-being. Through a comprehensive offering of treatment, prevention, outreach and crisis services to children, families and adults, the organization is focused on expanding access within the community to reach those who need care and are not seeking it on their own. Mental Health Center of Denver also partners with law enforcement, community organizations, faith leaders and medical practices to assist community members in every phase of their mental health journeys. 

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