“We discovered a talented and cohesive group of technical software developers in P.E.I. who’d already done this a couple of times before.” David Perry, the group’s leader, was determined to maintain the viability of his team, all with Maritime connections. He pitched its proven expertise and the economic and technological advantages of being in P.E.I. “We knew we had more value to offer collectively,” says Perry. “We didn’t want to lose the benefit of that potential.”
These talented Summerside IT professionals had first collaborated as part of Canada Revenue Agency’s software development group. They joined Kodak Canada when Perry was recruited to manage Kodak’s radiology information system from P.E.I. rather than relocate to Ottawa with CRA. When the imaging business was sold to Onex Inc., becoming Carestream Health, Perry, now director of Software R&D, re-enlisted his able team, managing groups in the U.S., Germany, and China. Over the years, the team was recognized for IT innovation, including the adoption of “agile” methodology and inventive models to implement complex RIS installations around the world. Its RIS was lauded by Frost & Sullivan as the fastest in global market penetration. In 2009, its eHealth solution was chosen “product of the year” by the Innovation and Technology Association of Prince Edward Island (ITAP). With Carestream’s decision to restructure and close its P.E.I. operation, the team once more resolved to remain together and stay in P.E.I.
In 2010, RadNet established its new P.E.I subsidiary RMIS Imaging Services Inc. in Summerside’s Holman Centre to house RadNet radiology software R&D. There, the 22-person team — led by director of software development David Perry — is transforming RadNet’s internal software functionality, managing work flow; transmitting and storing digital images for interpretation by remotely located radiologists; processing and distributing data; and delivering diagnostic services to patients, operating partners, and referring physicians. RadNet’s U.S.-based subsidiary eRad Inc. markets this technology to commercial customers, generating additional revenue.
Ranjan Jayanathan, general manager for the operation, visits P.E.I. regularly, while P.E.I. employees travel to RadNet’s U.S. sites to learn about the complex problems their software might help solve. David Perry’s visionary role in P.E.I.’s IT and eHealth sectors was recognized with the 2011 Premier’s Medal for Innovation, along with a $400,000 award to integrate electronic patient records and systems used in medical imaging. Perry’s perseverance in fostering IT excellence is reinforced by RadNet’s commitment to educating a new generation of IT professionals. Partnering with Holland College, RadNet offers student on-the-job training, provides RIS software to ensure students master the latest technology, and encourages employees to teach computer information systems eHealth electives at the college’s new Summerside waterfront Campus, another indication of the burgeoning eHealth sector there.
RadNet’s future is integrally involved with innovations being envisioned in P.E.I. “With U.S. commitment to affordable healthcare and an aging population, there’s increased demand for access to health information and medical records. The P.E.I. team is helping us launch an electronic, user-friendly relationship with patients,” says Jayanathan. “I pinch myself every day since I’m lucky to work with them. Our company is running on P.E.I. software.” Perry recalls earlier days when P.E.I. was unrecognized as an IT innovator. “I was often met with a stare and asked: ‘There’s IT in P.E.I.? Why P.E.I.?’” Twenty years later, he’s proud the team chose to stay together and accomplished so much. “With ability and hard work, people in more remote locations can develop fantastic technology. I say ‘Why not P.E.I.!’ We’ve proven we can do it from here.”