Partnership a boon for breast cancer screening

The Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) has been a happy customer of AMA Inc., a Mississauga, Ont.-based network infrastructure company, for over a year.

Now, thanks to a recent partnership between AMA and Teleias Inc., a Toronto-based remote network monitoring and management provider, the OBSP stands to gain more comprehensive service from their existing AMA contract.

Richard Catahan, senior project manager at Cancer Care Ontario, which encompasses OBSP, said the combination of infrastructure plus monitoring is a strong offering he expects his program to benefit from.

“Their partnership allows me to be more confident because Teleias can, seven by 24, manage and monitor OBSP’s network and the minute that they see any problems…in any of my sites throughout the province, they’d notify AMA and AMA would do whatever is needed to fix it,” Catahan said.

OBSP has over 50 sites in the province, most of which are located in hospitals. Its mission is to “reduce mortality from breast cancer by delivery to women 50 years of age and over a comprehensive, organized, and evaluated breast cancer screening program that is sensitive to women’s needs, builds on health promotion behaviours and fosters partnerships with interested groups in the community,” which requires a network that can connect medical sites and exchange information securely.

Daniel Cheng, president of AMA in Mississauga, said the Minister of Health has declared a mandate to use the Internet as a communications tool for programs such as Cancer Care. When Cancer Care faced Y2K difficulties in 1999 and had to re-write and re-deploy applications as a result, AMA was hired to design and manage that new network infrastructure, Cheng explained.

“We’re working with Cancer Care on the elimination of their entire frame relay private network so they can go full on the Internet,” to save money, Cheng said.

The introduction of Teleias’ services will further augment what AMA can offer customers such as Cancer Care. Cheng said AMA considered developing its own remote monitoring and management services, but the cost and slow time to market were prohibitive.

“Since Teleias has already built this infrastructure and Rayan [Zachariassen, president and CEO of Teleias] came from the UUNET background, we were quite confident that they had the necessary products and skill set required to implement this world-class monitoring.”

Despite the seemingly perfect fit, Cheng said the match had an important hurdle up front: interoperability.

“Teleias believed that the world wanted Lucent equipment, so they thought interoperability wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “We showed them our customer list from the high- to mid-sized client that have already invested heavily into Cisco or Shiva or Gauntlet equipment for their VPNs… We said you must have some interoperability between your VPN set up and their VPN set up.

“That was a condition of our partnership: that they monitor the AMA networking through a competitive product, not a Lucent product.”

Teleias came through on AMA’s request, and Cheng said the two organizations now have a “definite synergy.”

OBSP’s Catahan said he expects more detailed reports to come out of the partnership.

“On a monthly basis I get a list of all of the problems that I didn’t encounter because [AMA was] proactive. Routers would go down, but they would be proactive in replacing them before anything occurred…

“One of the important reports I’m excited about getting from Teleias is they will be showing me the top ten things that I have the option in doing to improve the network,” said a very pleased Catahan.

Teleias is at, AMA is at, and Cancer Care and OBSP are at