The province unveiled the funding as part of a $200-million, five-year development strategy. The Summerside project will be based out of the downtown Holman building, where the existing Carestream Health Canada Company, a health care software developer, currently resides, said Arnold Croken, general manager of the Summerside Regional Development Corporation (SRDC.)
"As a corporation, we made a strategic decision six months ago that our primary focus would be geared toward developments in the health IT software development centre," said Croken. "In our opinion this will be a huge magnet in drawing attention to our facility and drawing attention to the work force here in Summerside, and the Island in general."
The new company will test and validate the software produced by Carestream and other companies from around the world, to ensure it meets the highest industry standards. Among other health care IT, Carestream develops software for radiological imaging equipment. Testing of the software is the biggest gap developers in the health IT field are trying to fill, and P.E.I. could soon play a big part in filling the void, said Michael Mayne, deputy minister of Economic Innovation for the province.
"You need to be able to test this on platforms in terms of how this is going to work on machines A, B and C. There's no reason why we can't fill that in P.E.I., regardless of whether it's in Summerside or if it's in Charlottetown." The time may be right to invest in products that can be easily controlled and are not subject to global market forces that are unpredictable, Mayne added. While the project won't fiscally launch until April 1, 2009, Mayne said there is a lot of immediate work to be done. He also anticipates a big boost to the local economy, partly through job creation.
"It's not just about more jobs. These are the high paying jobs that we want here on PEI to attract our youth back that have left and keep our youth here."