Clarian Health finds quick way to transfer files

By Bernie Monegain
12:00 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – David Boyer, the video architect, who is responsible for the video conferencing and technical support for Clarian Health Partners’ telemedicine program, has found a way to save time, money – and aggravation – by getting done in two hours what might have taken two weeks in the past.

Clarian’s telemedicine program relies heavily on the transfer of clinical files – EEGs, X-rays, echocardiograms and sleep studies – from one location to another. It makes it possible for specialists in Indianapolis to care for patients who might be miles away in more rural parts of the state – Evansville, Bedford, Terre Haute, South Bend and Fort Wayne.

The telemedicine program saves patients expensive travel (for some it’s a 3 1/2 hour drive one way), says Jennifer Baron, director of the program. It means that patients can stay in the community and save a day off work.

The files are critical to remote teleconferencing visits, but, because of the size, impossible to transfer as e-mail attachments. The patient either has to travel to Indianapolis for consultation with a specialist, or wait until the medical information can be copied on a CD and mailed, or sent overnight.

This type of situation is inherent in telemedicine, Boyer said. “You’re dealing with people who are not on your network.”

In his search for a way to transfer the files electronically, Boyer found Accellion. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Accellion provides an alternative to e-mail attachments and to sharing files via FTP or SFTP servers.

FTP enables file movement between disparate devices and systems, but it doesn't provide management, monitoring, security or process control, noted Gartner analyst L. Frank Kenney in a report last year.

The Accellion Courier Secure File Transfer Appliance with its own Internet address is a separate secure server. To senders, the process is like attaching a document to an e-mail. Recipients receive a Web link and click to download.

“The e-mail interface understands how the e-mail works,” Boyer said.

The appliance can handle files as large as 20 gigabytes, and it does so securely, Boyer said.

“With regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act, and the recently enacted Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on record retention, the ability to clearly document how security and compliance are maintained is an important requirement for most enterprises,” said Yorgen H. Edholm, president and CEO of Accellion.

Among several other companies in the managed file transfer market space are Proginet in Garden City, N.Y., and Redwood City, Calif.-based Tumbleweed Communications.

Accellion’s vertical markets include engineering, construction and advertising. Healthcare is the company’s largest vertical. Harvard Medical School is a customer.

“What used to be done in two weeks can be done in two hours,” said Baron. “Test results can be done the same day.”

Baron could not be specific about return on investment. “It’s very hard to track ROI,” she said. Clarian looks at it as an investment in improving patient care.”