Business challenge

To centralize research on inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in a first-of-its-kind knowledge platform, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) needed a security-rich hosting solution.

Transformation

CCFA deployed a hybrid SoftLayer® platform running IBM Cloud Data Encryption Services technology and managed by IBM Integrated Managed Infrastructure Services and IBM Managed Security Services teams.

Results

Meets security standards

for hosting sensitive medical information, including encryption of data at rest and in transit

Inspires confidence

and encourages patients and medical centers to participate in critical research initiatives

Accelerates research

and speeds progress by sharing data across academic and industry resources

Business challenge story

Centralizing IBD research and knowledge

To speed progress toward precision treatment and cures for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), CCFA is bringing together IBD research and insight in a centralized knowledge platform. “There are countless research initiatives going on, but data from those programs sits in silos and does not get shared across academic and industry efforts,” says Angela Dobes, IBD Plexus director at CCFA.

“With SoftLayer infrastructure, we give patients, caregivers and medical centers confidence that we will protect their health information.”

—Angela Dobes, IBD Plexus Director, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

CCFA sought an expert cloud provider to build and manage a security-rich hosting environment for the IBD Plexus initiative. “We do not have the central infrastructure to store, organize and disseminate data across multiple research programs,” says Dobes. “And we don’t maintain in-house expertise to manage the scale of what IBD Plexus will ultimately become.”

Transformation story

Launching on hybrid cloud infrastructure

Performing an in-depth evaluation of Amazon and IBM cloud offerings, CCFA chose a SoftLayer® solution based on the platform’s dedicated hosting options, comprehensive managed services and robust security capabilities. “With SoftLayer infrastructure, we give patients, caregivers and medical centers confidence that we will protect their health information,” says Dobes.

CCFA will host the IBD Plexus platform in a hybrid SoftLayer environment with dedicated bare metal and virtual servers running the powerful IBM Cloud Data Encryption Services software-defined solution for safeguarding sensitive information. The organization engaged IBM Integrated Managed Infrastructure Services and IBM Managed Security Services teams to manage and support the SoftLayer infrastructure.

Results story

Furthering research to improve patient care

With the SoftLayer solution, CCFA addresses critical security standards for hosting medical data. “One of the requirements for our solution was that it meets all HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] regulations,” says Dobes. “There are certain technical standards we have to meet, including encryption of data at rest and in transit, and with IBM, we knew we could move forward.”

Confidence in the platform’s security is also crucial in gathering the data needed to advance IBD research. “When patients consent to a research study or a clinical site gives CCFA the right to pull information from its electronic medical record system, they have to feel that the solution is secure,” says Dobes. “Trust in our solution’s security is the most critical component. Without the data, the initiative fails.”

By teaming with IBM, CCFA is well-positioned to further its ultimate objective. “We are transforming the way research is conducted,” says Dobes. “Sharing patient data across the researcher community accelerates new scientific discoveries and enables healthcare providers to develop more accurate care plans tailored to the unique needs of each patient.”