In an era of growing mental health patient populations and shrinking provider pools, one Minnesota health center is leveraging the intersection of connectivity, technology, and healthcare to increase access to critical mental healthcare services across the state.
Western Mental Health Center (WMHC) is a non-profit behavioral and mental health center providing a variety of comprehensive mental health services to residents of five Minnesota counties since 1959. Their mission is to promote and advance mental health, to treat persons with mental health or related needs, and to provide collaborative and educational services to the community.
Utilizing the latest connectivity solutions, WMHC is tackling the mental health provider shortage by delivering next generation telepsychiatry services to its patients, enabling them to receive treatment no matter their location.
Crafting the Dream Network
When TeleQuality Communications (TQ) first approached WMHC, it was no surprise they were running all services over local DSL Internet. Rural areas across the U.S. often face difficulties gaining access to competitive telecom services because of the limited number of broadband providers and delivery methods. WMHC’s lack of options forced them to pay higher prices for subpar services that weren’t fulling their network needs.
After an in-depth analysis of their current network configuration, TQ’s network engineers delivered a custom TQ HealthNet WAN solution designed exclusively to solve WMHC’s unique pain points and provide them with numerous new benefits, including:
Upgraded bandwidth speeds to power and streamline telepsychiatry services
Seamless connections between their main office and all remote satellite locations
Increased capacity for site-to-site medical data transfers including large imaging files
Faster access and speed when utilizing electronic health records (EHR) system
Increased productivity and efficiency aided by rapid Internet speeds
Increased speed for day-to-day administrative functions
Leading the Telepsychiatry Innovation
Broadband-enabled virtual care sessions are quickly revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered to rural and remote areas across the country.
Utilizing a high-speed broadband connection, telepsychiatry appointments delivered via video conferencing are an excellent solution to the current mental health crisis in Minnesota where 9 of 11 state regions have a population per psychiatrist ratio of greater than 35,000 to 1. But these critical services can only be utilized when healthcare providers have the proper broadband connectivity to support them.
Recognizing the need to streamline and scale their life-saving therapy and behavioral health sessions, WMHC is now leveraging the TQ HealthNet solution to seamlessly support high-quality telepsychiatry sessions. Their health professionals can now focus on delivering excellent, personal care to patients without worrying about latency issues or experiencing poor connections on their end.
Building for the Future
After WMHC achieved their dream network, they quickly achieved their dream administrative and clinical office space. In 2017, WMHC upgraded to a brand new 21,000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate its growing staff and provide better services to its patients through community-based programs. The new facility features an array of new services: an on-staff chiropractor and physician team, a new pharmacy, and new primary care services in partnership with three local organizations.
In an era of hospital closures and healthcare facilities struggling to stay open, WMHC has found the secret recipe for success.
Their telepsychiatry services and integrated care approach are sparking interest and awareness within the community about how technology and healthcare can work together to deliver high quality care.