Quickly and securely exchanging sensitive and confidential patient information is a must for VIVA Health, a large health maintenance organization responsible for insuring the health of over 100,000 individuals. But this was proving to be no easy task given the volume and complexity of the information, compounded by the use of cumbersome DOS scripts.
While all tasks were “automated” batch jobs, DOS scripting for file transfer job creation and execution was both time consuming and error prone. It was also difficult to meet Patient Health Information (PHI) logging requirements. Determining when a file was transferred, where it went, and if it got there required a lot of tedious backtracking.
Each day, VIVA Heath, a subsidiary of the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Triton Health Care System, pulls in information from multiple sources: pharmacies, doctors’ offices, Medicare. A complex IT set up includes 13 secure servers and over 200 regularly scheduled tasks, some of which are run as frequently as every 15 minutes, or even on a minute-by-minute basis. Massive amounts of data are also moved each day from an AS/400 COBOL system.
A number of these tasks required database lookups and other complex steps which were difficult to code using DOS scripts. “Scheduling jobs was a bear,” says Ryan Kramer, VIVA Health’s Manager of Information Systems. “If a password changed, we had to manually reschedule every job. Tasks broke down pretty regularly, so they had to be monitored very closely. Focusing on something this mundane was distracting and time-consuming, and often kept us from working on tasks that were ultimately of higher value.”
In addition to performing regular file transfer tasks, VIVA Health employees were doing many ad hoc information transfers without proper security, putting confidential files – claims data, pharmacy information, patient information – at risk of compromise, embarrassing the firm and putting security jobs in jeopardy. All these file transfer challenges led VIVA Health to replace their existing FTP process with one that was easier to use, highly secure, and would enable employees to securely send and receive zip files whenever they needed.
Automation Engineer Ragan McBride knew that there was a better way. Given his successful experiences with MOVEit at another company, Ragan introduced both MOVEit Cloud with MOVEit Central solution to VIVA Health. “We run lean, and I knew that we would greatly benefit from having MOVEit on board,” he says.
Ryan Kramer enthusiastically agrees. “I could tell from the MOVEit demo that converting all those clunky batch files was going to be easy. The interface was so intuitive that I knew we would be able to get results right out of the box. Click-click-click. It was that simple.”
Automating with MOVEit Central is paying big dividends for VIVA Health. “We estimate that MOVEit is saving us the equivalent of two full-time equivalents (FTEs). We had one employee who was transferring to another department. With MOVEit, I was able to automate 75% of the work he had been doing, so we saved 75% of one man-year on his part alone. Plus our PCs are no longer tied up on these tasks,” said McBride.
Kramer finds that people are very surprised with how much VIVA Health is able to automate using MOVEit. “Getting a data feed and loading it into the claims engine, then waiting for the reply file used to be a very ugly workﬂow. MOVEit takes care of the whole process now — taking something from an FTP site, getting it across, making a backup, loading it on to AS/400, and letting the AS/400 process the files. With MOVEit, all those old batch jobs are pretty much 100% automated. The ability to dynamically schedule tasks has also been very beneficial for us.” And Ryan and other IT staffers no longer have to look over the system’s shoulder to make sure that jobs have run successfully. MOVEit lets them know when something has worked both in the interface and via email notifications.
Based on their success with MOVEit Central for scheduled jobs, VIVA Health decided to adopt MOVEit Ad Hoc Transfer to manage employee on-the-spot file transfers. MOVEit Ad Hoc Transfer enables direct user file transfer through Microsoft Outlook or web forms. Users can easily and securely transfer sensitive files without worrying about file size or working with unfamiliar, difficult to use programs.
VIVA Health has achieved its key objectives of easily automating task scripting and securely transferring files ad hoc thanks to MOVEit. But there have been additional benefits, including meeting Patient Health Information logging requirements. VIVA Health can easily track file transfers, and MOVEit’s error logs are also very useful. If problems do occur with an automated task run, IT staff can quickly drill down and identify an error’s source.
Dynamic scheduling and reporting are other capabilities that stand out for VIVA Health. Ipswitch File Transfer’s support also gets high marks. “Whenever we have a question about how to do something, we’ve gotten a really thorough response from Ipswitch,” Kramer says. “I know that it’s sometimes tempting to go with a free, open source solution,” adds McBride. “But not only do they have less functionality, you just don’t get any support. For us, MOVEit is a solution that just works.”