Ernie White

CIO, Melanoma Institute of Australia

Supernova Award Category: 

Digital Safety, Governance, and Privacy

The Organization: 

Melanoma Institute of Australia

Melanoma Institute Australia is an award-winning, world-leading organisation that regularly pioneers the prevention and cure of melanoma through world-class research, new treatments, and education programs.


Melanoma Institute Australia houses the world’s largest melanoma research database, including nearly 50,000 patient records and research notes that go as far back as 1960, detailing highly sensitive and confidential patient information.


The Problem: 

During Australia’s introduction of the Notification of Data Breaches Act in 2017, Melanoma Institute Australia reviewed its systems and processes, as a health information service provider now bound by the country’s legislation for privacy and information confidentiality, and mindful of the highly sensitive and confidential nature of the information it houses.

From the review, Melanoma Institute Australia identified the need for a collaboration platform that could ensure:

Security and encryption of its massive information database against cyber hacking efforts, both atrest and in-transit;

Adherence to various local and global regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the General Data Protection Regulation;

Awareness and ownership of its information, no matter who data was shared with, including digital rights management control of who could access files and what they could do with it; and

Integration and ease of use with the organisations’ existing infrastructure, including Microsoft Outlook and Office 365, without requiring any significant change to existing workflows.

The Solution: 

Working with partner organisation Optus, Australia’s second largest telecommunication company, MIA set out in search of a solution that met the qualifications required to address its concerns as a health information service provider. This would eventually lead it to BlackBerry® Workspaces, an enterprise-grade platform for secure collaboration, file storage, and synchronisation. MIA deployed Workspaces with help from BlackBerry® Professional Services.

The Results: 

Today, BlackBerry Workspaces is the secure file storage and collaboration platform for the clinicians, researchers, and external stakeholders at Melanoma Institute of Australia. Using the option to allow access from approved contributors, the Melanoma Institute of Australia team is also able to save and share medical histories and clinical trial results with the wider international healthcare community, including scientists, doctors, and fellow researchers. The solution also enables researchers to securely share critical research data and patient records in a heavily regulated environment, even outside of the MIA firewall.


Through its partnership with BlackBerry, Melanoma has implemented a secure platform which its clinicians are comfortable using. It has incorporated a file sharing and collaboration tool that both enables and protects its research.


Before BlackBerry Workspaces was deployed, MIA did not have full visibility of when highly sensitive materials had been received and opened by stakeholders. Since deploying BlackBerry Workspaces, MIA now has full control of its most sensitive and invaluable asset – data.


With BlackBerry Workspaces, MIA is now able to secure its data effectively from end to end, whether at rest or in transit, and log their communications trail extensively, which helps the organisation to comply with regulations such as the GDPR.


Clinicians and researchers working in the MIA team, and with the MIA team, have also quickly adapted to the new system, now trusting it automatically. When MIA shares research data with fellow specialists in Norway, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, they are now confident that their open collaboration is well secured. MIA can control its most sensitive asset – data.


This reinforces among the medical and research communities how seamlessly technology can support them in their important work to save lives.


The Technology: 

BlackBerry Workspaces is the leading secure enterprise file synchronisation and sharing solution, enabling users to share, edit and control their files on every device. Only BlackBerry Workspaces can provide the level of security organisations need — wherever files are, wherever they need to go, and whoever needs to access them. Workspaces embeds digital rights management protection into business files, so all content remains secure everywhere it goes.

Disruptive Factor: 

In a world of increasing security concerns, Blackberry Workspaces is able to provide a peace of mind for MIA, patients, clinicians and researchers. This technology has become an integral part of how MIA operates at all levels, and is used to share information with sources such as its radiology and imaging departments at different departments. It has also leveraged the solution to greatly improve efficiency and patient outcomes at clinics.


MIA has done this by streamlining all security measures in the institute, decrease time spent on follow-up emails, streamlining insurance claims and by enabling a clear chain of ownership to be enforced making follow-up simple.


Shining Moment: 

MIA is pleased with the ease of deployment. We had 75 percent of the organisation deployed within 4 weeks. The organisation was seamlessly able to adopt the technology and stakeholders continue to be impressed by the security that safeguards and provides a solution that tracks, audits and controls access to information, when privacy is a key concern. MIA is also considering BlackBerry UEM for provisioning, device management, and policy management.

About Your Organization

Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) pioneers advances in melanoma research and treatment that are making a difference to the lives of patients today.

We are a non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing and curing melanoma through innovative, world-class research, treatment and education programs