Thyme CDS is available now!                                                                       Email: Thymecds@thepcl.net

Thyme CDS (Thyme) is a “comparable database system” developed by The Partnership Center, Ltd. (PCL) specifically for victim service providers. It is configured to collect information required for:  HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG), as well as DOJ’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA-STOP) and Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), and HHS’s Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA).  Thyme meets all requirements as a comparable database for the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) as required by HUD and generates the reports in an accurate CSV format as specified by HUD. Thyme also enables case workers/advocates to record client activity and case plans and includes tools to support their work.

Each agency who licenses Thyme receives not only the Thyme CDS software, but custom set-up, training, on-going support, with a customized secure Microsoft Azure server and Microsoft software package or for an agency that opts not to use the Microsoft Azure server, within their internal IT infrastructure (i.e. on a server or machine physically housed within their agency walls).

Read more about the specifics of Thyme:

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration, complete this form.

 

Storage and Security

The Thyme system is designed to be fully compliant with the Violence Against Women Act requirements as a highly secure web-based system.  Each Victim Service Provider agency has a separate, private, and secure instance of the software stored in its own fully encrypted server provided through Microsoft’s Azure or within their internal IT infrastructure (i.e. on a server or machine physically housed within their agency walls).  Data stored in Thyme on Azure is never shared with anyone outside the agency and the agency holds the only access keys. PCL was assisted in the design and development of the privacy and security function on hardware and software by both legal and technical experts, along with other privacy/security resource partners from across the country.

Microsoft Azure cloud server storage

For agencies that opt to store their database in a virtual server, the Azure cloud server is provided at low or no cost to qualified non-profits via a partnership with Microsoft’s Technology for Social Impact project and their longstanding commitment to non-profits. Each agency’s Azure Virtual Server will be equipped with their preconfigured instance of the Thyme database running on a secure system using industry standard best practices to encrypt and secure data, both at rest and in transit.  A second, distinct layer of at-rest security is provided by using Bitlocker to encrypt all the system files and data, so that even if a malicious actor copied the data or stole the hardware containing the data and somehow stole one set of encryption keys, the data would still be unreadable.

PCL’s Thyme Manager assists agencies with the non-profit certification process through Microsoft to leverage $3,500 in annual credits. These credits cover the cost of the agency’s server. Along with the credits, Microsoft also provides $1,500 of Azure Active Directory Premium, which includes Office 365, email, and Multi Factor Authentication to support the agency’s overall security and productivity. Once the server is configured and equipped with the agency’s instance of Thyme, the server keys are handed back to the agency.

Agency internal IT infrastructure storage

For agencies that opt to store their Thyme database within their internal IT infrastructure, PCL will configure their Thyme system as a virtual machine hosted on the agency’s own physical server. After initial consultation and setup, the virtual machine and data are entirely under agency control. The physical machine, the host operating system and the network can be secured with any and all methods the agency requires.

An additional partnership with Sightline Security provides agencies an opportunity to assess, prioritize, and improve their cybersecurity agency-wide.

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration, complete this form.

 

Projects Supported in Thyme

Thyme supports data collection for the following project types:

  • Emergency Shelter
  • Rapid Re-Housing
  • Permanent Supportive Housing
  • Aftercare
  • HUD specific Service Only Projects
  • Other Service Projects
  • Street Outreach
  • A hotline project is also under development

Thyme is built using a “project-based model” which enables clients to be entered and exited seamlessly from one project to another, supporting accurate information on outcomes obtained by clients in each project.  Thyme’s simple and user-friendly wizards guide users through various stages, including project intake, annual assessment and exit, to support collection of required information at the right stage without workers struggling to figure out what to complete. Thyme wizards are always maintained to HMIS Data Standard requirements.

Thyme also identifies which of the agency’s federal funding programs require the collection of each data element through a colored star system, so there is no question when data is required for reporting.

Thyme was designed not only as a database to store information needed by funders but is complete with tools designed, tested, and used by advocates and case managers to develop case plans, conduct client housing checklists, support budgeting, messaging, and encounter note taking.

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration, complete this form.

 

User Access, Levels, and Support

Thyme is accessible to users through a secure website available only to the approved users of Thyme at the Agency. Access is password protected and PIN enabled. Each agency may have as many users as require access. There is no “per-user” fee. Thyme supports the theory that privacy and security should not be compromised by persons sharing passwords and so it is not cost prohibitive for agencies to enroll all persons who need access to Thyme with their own password and logon credentials.

Thyme supports a variety of user levels from supervisor to read-only.  Each user has their own user level, by project. These user levels enable and/or restrict access (reading and writing) to client data in different projects of the organization, so only those persons in the “circle of knowledge” regarding the victim have access to data. User levels are set by the agency and may be changed as needed if workers change positions within the agency.

Project partnerships enable client information to be viewed across projects or restricted depending on the agency’s needs and client confidentiality. For example, a transitional housing project may have a data sharing relationship with the emergency shelter so the transitional housing workers can build on the work already provided in the shelter. That same transitional housing project, however, may elect not to have a data sharing relationship with a services only project because the need to know the information collected there is not relevant to their work with the client.

A variety of user training experiences are provided as part of the initial set-up process for Thyme.  A start-up video conference training is included in the set-up fee to provide agency-specific and project-specific training for users.  Thyme guidebooks, tip sheets, and video training are also available and are updated regularly.  Ongoing training is also available for agency users at nominal fees including new user orientation, understanding reporting, train-the-trainer, advanced data reporting, etc. On-site training is available for an additional fee when multiple organizations in one area/region or state elect to use Thyme.

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration, complete this form.

 

Reports Available

Thyme supports the agency’s ability to accurately report on the clients it serves, and the outcomes achieved.  Thyme generates accurate reporting for all HUD Continuum of Care and Emergency Shelter Grant programs critical for maintaining funding and measuring performance.

PCL programmers have extensive experience in HUD’s Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grant program and HMIS reporting.  Reports include the required HUD CSV reporting output, updated as required and free of charge, as well as on-screen viewable, printable, and detailed versions of the reports.  Reporting for VOCA, VAWA STOP grant, and FVPSA are also standard in the system. Other VAWA grants will be added soon.

Thyme also comes complete with a variety of standard reports needed by an agency for program and agency management. Reports range from active client lists, to client level demographic reporting, to data quality reports.  Custom reports can be ordered in addition to the standard reports and may be programmed for a single agency’s use or a statewide or regional reporting need.  Charges for custom reports are based on the size and complexity of the report and are quoted on a “not-to-exceed” cost, so the agency always knows the maximum fee for any order.

Additionally, Thyme supports the ability to generate custom reports through a special reporting tool called Flexo.  On-line training classes enable users to learn how to use the Flexo reporting system and receive certification that they were trained and “passed” the course.

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration, complete this form.

 

Agency Requirements

Agencies may opt to house their Thyme database on a Microsoft Azure server as configured by PCL specifically for Thyme. PCL assists the non-profit agency in securing a renewable Microsoft Credit and purchasing the server, so in most instances Azure is completely free of charge. In order to obtain this free cloud-based server, agencies must be willing to work with PCL to obtain the credit and then order the specified server entirely in their name.

Agencies that opt to house their Thyme database within their internal IT infrastructure will need a physical machine with server class hardware with a minimum 16GB RAM, 3.0GHz 4 core processor and 1TB drive space. The server must be able to host a virtual machine with a current version of MS Windows Server and MS SQL Server Standard licensed for the correct number of users. The physical server should have a minimum of 8GB RAM, 2 processor cores, and 500GB of disk space for use exclusively by the Thyme virtual server, which is provided by PCL.

Agencies need to set aside dedicated time to work with PCL’s Thyme Manager and Metadata Specialist to provide information about each project they want included in Thyme. Agency preparedness and participation in the project set-up will ensure all the data the agency needs will be configured correctly in their Thyme system.

Agencies must identify at least one Thyme Specialist to be trained to manage the administration portion of Thyme for the agency once it is deployed to their server.  This person is also responsible for accepting Thyme updates in the server. The Thyme Specialist is able to add/delete users, set user levels, update option lists for case manager names, county names, and grants used.  They may also post system messages and review data entry errors across the agency.  The Thyme Specialist will have the ability to customize data collection in Thyme to include fields which the agency requires for their own internal data collection needs or the requirement of other funders.

If you are interested in learning more about Thyme CDS or seeing a demonstration complete this form.