Lumos Enables Healthcare

Innovation at Horizon Behavioral Health

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"With Lumos' engineering support, we now have a fairly sophisticated network," says Rob Viohl, IT Director for Horizon Behavioral Health. The network includes MPLS MetroEthernet to the data center in the administration building and six locations as well as T1 connections to Horizon's group homes. Horizon has been serving the central region of Virginia since 1969, focusing on improving clients' health and self worth and providing community education, early intervention, treatment and aftercare services.

Why Horizon Needed a Custom Network

Lumos has been working with Horizon since 2001, with the initial aim of helping Rob address some of the problems of Horizon's old network. "The old network was very, very slow. Our clinical staff were having difficulty in getting their online paperwork completed, and that increased the service delivery time for the client community." With more healthcare management moving online, that had to change, which is why Horizon needed a custom network solution.

"Data drives everything at Horizon Behavioral Health. The information that goes back and forth either for our clients, staff, and payers, or other healthcare providers is very important to Horizon's executive management," says Rob. Healthcare institutions also face technology challenges in the current regulatory environment. "Horizon is no different than any other healthcare entity. With the federal laws in place for electronic healthcare records and client care and confidentiality, we have spent a lot of time and money implementing new systems, and electronic health record systems."

Network Availability Enables Healthcare Innovation

With the network in place, uptime was another key requirement. "The system has to be available basically 24 hours a day. Our previous experience was sometimes in the range of 60% to 70%. That was not very good," says Rob. "The Lumos network has one of the highest availabilities that I've had in my 35 years of working with telecommunications. Our uptime availability with Lumos is 99%." That means that even in case of disaster, when their clients are most vulnerable, Horizon can provide the necessary healthcare services. That's a big advantage in an increasingly connected world.

In addition to the standard services, Horizon has used its expanded network capacity to offer new services to clients, including telemedicine. Horizon was also one of the first healthcare providers in Virginia to offer telepsychiatry via secure video-conferencing, and have expanded the service over the past five years. "Our physicians are providing services all throughout the state in order to provide better care for clients not just in our backyard but all through the commonwealth. We provide services on a daily basis and even on weekends for other community service boards in Virginia, Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Richmond in Virginia Beach." The MetroEthernet solution easily handles the increased data throughput this service requires.

Flipping a Switch for Increased Bandwidth

Over the years, the network has evolved to meet increased demand and it's now ready for the future. "We've actually increased one fiber site to two-and-a-half times its current speed because we had already met its threshold for data throughput. Once we hit a certain threshold, then we'll look at increasing those speeds again. Because of the Metro Ethernet, we're able to do that at almost a flip of a switch. It's changing a router, and then we're down for five minutes back up with a much higher speed." That will help when Horizon adds new locations to the network, scheduled for the near future.

Lumos Relationships Enable Quality Care

Rob speaks highly of the experience of working with Lumos. "Lumos technology comes with people. No matter who you're talking with - whether it's a network operation center or the sales people or a plant engineer – we have built a solid relationship." He adds: "Lumos has understood our needs. They will notify us if there's a problem that we haven't even seen yet. Lumos does a good job of communicating if there's a problem, what the status is and then when it's resolved."

For Rob, the most important aspect of the custom network is that it allows Horizon to provide services to staff and clients and achieve its mission of quality care close to home. "Customization to Horizon Behavioral Health means a solid, secure foundation in order for Horizon to meet its mission of quality care close to home. With the addition of the Lumos Metro Ethernet solution, we can provide excellent services for our community, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I personally sleep much better knowing that my network is always available. "

Horizon Behavioral Health  Lumos Case Study

Horizon Behavioral Health

Network problem

  • Network  latency increased service delivery time
  • Low uptime – 60-70%
  • Not enough bandwidth to handle electronic record systems data throughput

Lumos Solution: MetroEthernet + SIP

  • MetroEthernet to multiple networked locations on- and off-site
  • T1 connections to group homes
  • Expandable bandwidth

Results:

  • 99% uptime availability
  • Ability to deliver services even in case of disaster
  • Network handles delivery of new tele-psychiatry and tele-medicine services
  • Capacity increases at a flip of a switch.