Taking training to the world

Since 2009, Dr. Narinder Paul and his colleagues at the Advanced Imaging and Education Centre have trained more than 650 radiologists, cardiologists and technologists from across Canada and around the world, enabling them to get the most from the medical imaging technology in their hospitals. Now, with ORION’s help, Dr. Paul is developing a virtual classroom that will make the program accessible to even more people. ORION’s ability to quickly and securely deliver large quantities of rich content in high fidelity is essential to helping Dr. Paul share Ontario-based expertise with health-care professionals, improving patient care worldwide.

“The University Health Network is very privileged,” says Dr. Paul, a medical imaging expert, associate professor at the University of Toronto and founder of the Advanced Imaging and Education Centre (AIEC). “We have the best equipment, the best pathologists, and we work with expert physicians and surgeons.” It was awareness of this privilege—and the knowledge that people working in smaller hospitals sometimes struggle to find the resources they need to learn to make the best use of their equipment—that inspired him to found the AEIC five years ago. “We wanted to share our experience so that we could benefit more patients.”

Dr. Paul and his colleagues at the AIEC have trained students from across Canada, and from countries as far away as Colombia, Pakistan and Australia. The hands-on training enables hospitals in smaller communities to institute better screening programs and procedures, making it faster and easier for patients who no longer have to travel long distances to larger hospitals for even a diagnostic imaging test.

The training is working—and Dr. Paul wants to make it available more widely. But there are challenges. It can be a strain on already limited resources—both financially and for staffing reasons—to send trainees to the Centre, especially for students from outside North America. The solution: to create a virtual classroom, and use the ORION network and its connection to CANARIE, Canada’s national network, to make that classroom accessible to radiologists and other clinicians across the country and around the world.

Of course, virtual classrooms—especially ones that rely on examining high-resolution images—require superior connectivity. Add in rich content like video and real-time collaborations and you’re at the mercy of the speed and reliability of your network.

“Having partners on the IT side is really important for us to get the message beyond our geographical boundaries and out to a larger audience,” says Dr. Paul. “That’s where ORION is going to be extremely helpful in broadening the scope of what we do.” 

Using ORION’s private high-speed network means Dr. Paul will be able to transmit large volumes of data from the AIEC to students in the virtual classroom quickly and easily, without worrying about compromising the quality or manipulability of the images, or the security of the data. ORION is working closely with Dr. Paul to set up network connections and optimize the system to best serve the needs of the program. Dr. Paul is also in talks with ORION about expanding the virtual classroom by using ORION’s O3 social collaboration tool and Nebula cloud partners. 

Working with ORION “has been fabulous,” says Dr. Paul. “They get it.” 

2014 Leadership Award winner Dr. Narinder Paul, UHN

2014 Leadership Award winner Dr. Narinder Paul, UHN