DANVILLE, Pa., Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Geisinger Health System has become the first health care organization to be connected to PennREN, the Pennsylvania Research and Education Network, a public network exchange built and managed by the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER) to provide broadband connectivity, foster collaboration and promote innovative use of digital technologies for the benefit of Pennsylvanians.
KINBER is a non-profit coalition of Pennsylvania's education, research, health care, economic development, libraries and public media providing expertise and technical leadership for innovation and access to a high performance research network enabling massive data sharing, cloud services and enhanced connectivity to the Internet. KINBER's membership includes Geisinger, Bucknell University, Penn State University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh, among others.
"Geisinger is a PennREN pioneer in the health care arena, and its connection to our high performance network will enable opportunities for innovation, such as transmission of big data for genomic research, telemedicine, video consultation, remote patient monitoring, and access to specialist care," said KINBER Executive Director Wendy Huntoon. "Healthcare providers can also use KINBER services to benefit from health information exchange or gain access to other services like disaster recovery and data centers, resulting in a more efficient and effective delivery of services," she said.
In a test of the system in December, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh were able to send a 175GB file of de-identified genomic data over the KMEX (KINBER Member Exchange Service) connection to Geisinger. KINBER anticipates data transfer times will improve as the KINBER and Geisinger technical staffs perform end-to-end performance tuning on the link.
Using KMEX saved researchers the time and expense of having the data burned to a hard drive and then shipped to Geisinger, said Raghu Metpally, PhD, a bioinformatics scientist at Geisinger's Sigfried and Janet Weis Center for Research. "The whole process went very smoothly without any data loss or damage," he said.
"With GHS massively using Genomics in its research and clinics, a dedicated high speed data transfer system like KINBER makes very large data intensive collaborations easier, either in receiving the data from the service centers or sharing the data across collaborators who are spread to institutions like Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh," Dr. Metpally said.
"We feel that KINBER/PennREN offers 'uniquely reliable' Internet connectivity," said John Kravitz, vice president of information technology and associate chief information officer for Geisinger Health System.
"Geisinger wanted better connectivity for our researcher collaborators within the State of Pennsylvania: Bucknell University, University of Penn and the University of Pittsburgh to name a few," Kravitz said. "With the flexibility of the KINBER Network we have the capability to establish redundancy with virtual internet connections via a single physical connection. This allows us to connect to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for research initiatives; if one connection fails we can failover to the other connection. In the past we would have been connected solely thru an Internet point of presence in New York City with limited redundancy."
He added that Geisinger is happy with the work accomplished thus far and looks to more opportunities to leverage the KMEX (KINBER) Network in the future.
Bob Murcek, director of network infrastructure at Geisinger, agreed. "The big benefit is that researchers won't have to waste time arranging for a special connection; it'll always be there when they need it," he said.
About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation's largest rural health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 48 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 23,500 employees, including a 1,200-member multi-specialty group practice, nine hospital campuses, two research centers and a 467,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $7.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook.
The Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research is a non-profit coalition of membership organization comprised of education, healthcare, economic development, libraries, public media and other non-profit Pennsylvania's education, research, healthcare, economic development and other non-profit based communities. Established in 2010 through a $99.6 million grant from the National Telecommunications and information Administration, KINBER is committed to delivering equitable, reliable and affordable access, space for collaboration, and digital tools for research and education to inspire tomorrow's scientific discoveries, enable the exchange of ideas and culture among diverse populations, educate the next generation of citizens and revitalize Pennsylvania's economy.
KINBER is lighting the way for new and innovative partnerships for its anchor institutions and members in the realms of digital resources, regional peering, tele-medicine, high performance computing and network-centric information technology applications. Members benefit from enhanced access to regional, national, and global R&E networks with "built-in" opportunities for collaborations between members. For more information: www.kinber.org
Matthew Van Stone, Geisinger: 570-808-3248
Leslie Amorós, KINBER: 717-880-4196
SOURCE Geisinger Health System