Universal Health Services, Christus Health and Mercy Health System select Zix for secure e-messaging services

Dallas 23 March 2004Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware Valley's largest Catholic health care system and a member of Catholic Health East, has selected ZixCorp as its e-mail security solution. Texas-based CHRISTUS Health, another Catholic health system with more than 40 hospitals and long-term care facilities in more than 70 cities, has also chosen ZixCorp to meet its secure e-messaging needs. Universal Health Services (UHS) went for ZixCorp as well. The corporation, with over 30.000 employees, purchased ZixCorp communications protection services.


Mercy Health System, based in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, joins many other area health care providers that have selected ZixCorp to meet the security regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) including Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Select Medical Corporation, and Keystone Health Plan Central. For the same reasons, CHRISTUS signed a three-year contract that includes the purchase of ZixVPM (Virtual Private Messenger), ZixPort, and six ZixAuditor assessments.

Mercy Health System purchased ZixAuditor, ZixPort, ZixVPM services for Mercy Home Health Services, and its five hospitals: Mercy Hospital of Philadelphia; Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital; Mercy Suburban Hospital; Nazareth Hospital; and St. Agnes Medical Center.

The company utilized the ZixAuditor e-mail assessment service to identify e-mail security vulnerabilities and develop its e-mail security policies and will conduct another assessment after deployment to monitor ongoing HIPAA compliance. ZixPort will provide custom branding and encrypted messaging functionality for Mercy Health System and its partners. ZixVPM will enforce e-mail policies system-wide to ensure secure handling of confidential information including a pre-configured HIPAA lexicon that detects Protected Health Information (PHI).

"Protecting patient information is a top priority for us", stated Nancy Oetinger, chief compliance and privacy officer for Mercy Health System. "ZixCorp's clear focus and understanding of health care security needs, and the fact that its services required no up-front capital or additional internal resources made them our top choice. The tremendous support we've received has confirmed that we made the right decision for our secure e-messaging provider."

"We spent two years working toward HIPAA compliance and we identified PHI in e-mails as an important risk factor. ZixAuditor helped us clearly identify our e-mail patterns so that we could implement the right solution. After thoroughly examining all our options, ZixCorp was best able to meet our needs and we'll rely upon ZixAuditor assessment to ensure our continued compliance", stated Steve Czapla, chief information officer for Mercy Health System.

Mercy Health System will also take advantage of the ZixEvangelism Programme, which provides the organisation with the tools it needs to communicate company e-mail security policies to 6500 employees and additional partners. The programme provides posters, letters, brochures, and other marketing materials to assist in education and involvement in securing PHI. The organisation's 1500 physicians will also participate in the non-profit HealthyEmail programme, an initiative that offers free two-year ZixMail desktop encryption services to all United States physicians.

"As ZixCorp strengthens its dominance in the Northeast in general and Pennsylvania in particular, we're capturing influential health care systems that other hospitals look to for guidance in purchasing decisions", stated Dennis Heathcote, vice president of sales and marketing for ZixCorp. "As part of Catholic Health East, Mercy Health System's decision to choose ZixCorp as its secure e-messaging provider has the potential to affect the decisions of dozens of health care systems on the East Coast."

Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a diverse, integrated system providing comprehensive health care services to people in all stages of life. Its mission is to be a partner in the healing ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, Hope Ministries and the Catholic Church by delivering quality, community-based health care services, and addressing the diverse factors that impact the health care needs of the whole person, with a special concern for the poor and disadvantaged.

CHRISTUS Health, which employs more than 25.000 associates and has more than 8000 physicians on its medical staffs, will deploy ZixVPM to encrypt e-mail messages system-wide for inbound and outbound communications. The service includes a built-in HIPAA lexicon that recognizes Protected Health Information (PHI) to ensure compliance and patient confidentiality. ZixPort will provide custom branding and encrypted messaging capability to CHRISTUS Health's Web site. The organisation will also conduct two ZixAuditor e-mail assessments a year to ensure ongoing e-messaging compliance and efficiency.

"We were impressed not only with the quality and ease of use of ZixCorp's services, but also with the sophistication of its operations centre", stated George Conklin, senior vice president and CIO for CHRISTUS Health. "Meeting HIPAA regulations is important, but we were not going to compromise the integrity of our e-mail communications. Maintaining efficiency and an uninterrupted mail flow is imperative, and ZixCorp provides the capacity and stability to make sure it happens."

Prior to signing the contract, CHRISTUS conducted intense vulnerability testing on the ZixSecure Center. The SysTrust-certified data centre ensures seamless delivery of all e-messaging and has the capacity, scalability, and infrastructure to support encryption keys for every e-mail address in the world. The centre includes continuous fully redundant operations, the capacity for over two million e-mails per hour, multiple ISPs, dual uninterruptible power supplies, and proven 99,99 percent reliability.

"Our ZixSecure Center is truly a world-class operation. It's a stable, secure, and highly responsive environment and we encourage our customers and prospects to see that for themselves", stated Dennis Heathcote. "As one of the top ten Catholic health systems in the country, it was important that CHRISTUS take advantage of what we think is the best data centre and best e-mail protection services available."

Sponsored jointly by the Congregations of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, CHRISTUS Health employs more than 25.000 people with total assets of $3,4 billion. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ, CHRISTUS Health comprises more than 40 hospitals and long-term care facilities, as well as dozens of other health services in more than 70 communities in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, and Mexico. CHRISTUS Health is headquartered in Dallas with additional offices operating in both San Antonio and Houston to support the health system operations.

The Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services (UHS) purchased ZixVPM and ZixPort communications protection services to cover 8000 users companywide. ZixPort will provide custom branding and encrypted messaging capability to UHS's Web site. Both ZixCorp services will be deployed on the organisation's Lotus Notes and Domino network environment. Before making its e-mail security decisions, UHS had ZixCorp conduct a ZixAuditor e-mail assessment, which identified e-mail security vulnerabilities to help the company develop its e-mail security policies.

"As a national corporation, we required a solution that could be easily deployed across the six geographic e-mail gateways that support over 100 facilities", stated Linda Reino, CIO for UHS. "Not only did ZixCorp services handle that challenge perfectly, but they also did not require a lot of resources to maintain or administer. We're pleased that our PHI will be fully secured and we are doing it with no hassles, no additional personnel, and no overhead costs. This solution is especially beneficial to our physician community with its ease of use."

ZixCorp has already gained other prominent Pennsylvania-based health care customers this year including Mercy Health System of Southeastern Pennsylvania, HealthGuard, and Geisinger Health System. ZixCorp's prominence in Pennsylvania has made it the leading provider of secure e-messaging in the state.

"The ability of our services to integrate seamlessly with existing systems effectively, no matter how complex, shows how ZixCorp's underlying technology helps large organisations deploy their e-mail protection policies as easily as small ones", stated Dennis Heathcote. "Our interoperable solutions will enable Universal Health Services to communicate securely both within its large network and with all its physicians, patients, payers, and partners with one total solution."

Universal Health Services Inc. is one of the United States' largest hospital companies, operating acute care and behavioural health hospitals, ambulatory surgery and radiation centres nationwide, in Puerto Rico and in France. It acts as the advisor to Universal Health Realty Income Trust, a real estate investment trust.

Zix Corporation is a global provider of e-messaging protection and transaction services. ZixCorp offers a range of solutions to protect organisations from viruses, spam, and electronic attack, as well as enabling secure electronic communications, such as e-mail encryption and e-prescribing. ZixCorp helps organisations of any size to streamline operations, mitigate risks, and leverage the efficiencies of e-messaging. More company news is available in the VMW January 2004 article Zix signs $450.000 contract with health benefits company and three-year contract with Cedars-Sinai MC.

Leslie Versweyveld

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