International healthcare company WorldCare Ltd. runs a second-opinion e-consultation service for people looking for U.S. healthcare advice outside of the country. It's a storage-intensive operation, as the firm sends large medical images across the globe for doctors in the U.S to study.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based company has performed about 12,000 cases since it was founded in 1994, letting patients and their doctors abroad benefit from the expertise of 8,000 specialists at WorldCare's four consortium hospital groups without having to leave their countries.
Hospitals participating in WorldCare's consortium include: Partners HealthCare (Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute), the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Duke University HealthCare System.
WorldCare's operation depends on its ability to adhere to strict U.S. federal regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires that healthcare providers store clinical data longer and provide ultra-secure retrieval of it.
"We have to aware at all times of who is looking at an image and if any changes are made to it," says Ivo Minkov, senior systems engineer at WorldCare. "We also needed a way to manage our image data to allow us to access it in real time and lock it sufficiently for HIPAA."