Pierre Lemire, BSc - University of Regina
Kent Imaging, Inc
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Chief Executive Officer, Kent Imaging, Inc
An interview with Pierre Lemire, Chief Executive Officer, Kent Imaging, Inc.
Our special interview on Canadian MedTech Pioneer with PIERRE LEMIRE, CEO of Kent Imaging, Inc., takes an exclusive look behind the operation of the award-winning Alberta medical technology firm that designs, manufactures, and markets imaging technology for wound care, limb preservation and surgical care. Executive Global discusses their novel near-infrared spectroscopy imaging device with the pre-eminent MedTech executive who
is working to amplify Calgary’s profile as a growing healthcare technology centre.
Pierre Lemire CV
University of Regina
2015-present CEO, Kent Imaging, a leading innovator of medical technology.
2006 President, Calgary Scientific. Managed team responsible for creating ResolutionMD- the industry leader in cloud-based imaging technology.
2004 Co-Founder, Calgary Scientific.
CTO of the company as it become an international leader in medical imaging.
2002 CTO in the GIS Division, Autodesk. Helped develop Autodesk Map which became a $200M product within three years of launch.
1998 Director of Software Development /Chief Architect, Autodesk.
1994 Responsible for development of Autodesk’s first mapping product, AutoCAD Map.
1987 Programmer, Kanotech
Canadian Medtech Pioneer
EG: What are some the ways Kent Imaging’s low-cost, non-invasive diagnostic driven tool can revolutionise workflow for surgeons, physicians, and wound care specialists?
Pierre Lemire: With a simple click of a button, SnapshotNIR provides clinicians with a tissue oxygen saturation image that can provide valuable insight to help guide clinical evaluation and make informed, patient-centric treatment decisions. It’s portable, lightweight, and completely non-invasive. This point-of-care technology does not require dyes, injectables, or consumables, and doesn’t require any direct patient contact to capture repeated images near-instantaneously.
Kent works with established electronic health records (EHRs/EMRs) to integrate captured data from the device into the patient record. This integration ensures that critical information on the state of a wound is incorporated into the record, streamlining workflow, and providing documented data.
We have partnered with wound care centers that have built objective measurement goals based on Snapshot data that has led to standardized imaging protocols in their facilities. In one facility, for
example, once the protocol was in place, healing rates increased, amputations
were reduced, and the efficiency between clinics was improved.
A True Game-Changer For Patient Outcomes
EG: Tell us how your flagship product, SnapshotNIR is a game-changer for patient outcomes? Where would the medical world be right now if this technology were not created?
PL: SnapshotNIR helps clinicians evaluate a critical element of wound healing. If the wound, or the tissues surrounding the wound, does not have adequate oxygen, it will not heal. The feedback from doctors and patients on the device has been very positive.
We have many testimonials of how it has prevented amputations and given patients the freedom to live without the burden of a painful, chronic wound. Patients and their families often feel frustrated when a wound doesn’t seem to be healing, but with Snapshot,
doctors can visually demonstrate healing progress.
Helping Surgeons and Wound Care Specialists
EG: Every year, many patients experience complications from surgery and other medical treatments. How does your solution help surgeons and wound care specialists worldwide provide better patient outcomes?
PL: Snapshot enables clinicians to provide an enhanced standard of care to patients. Chronic wounds are very challenging as healing can be a slow and frustrating process. In many instances, the status of the wound healing progress cannot be fully evaluated with visual inspection alone. With our technology, practitioners gain insight that allows them to offer patients timely, informed, and, in some cases, limb-saving solutions.
For surgical patients, imaging during the procedure can provide reliable insight into tissue viability, especially in surgical flaps. One of the most serious issues confronting surgeons performing breast reconstruction is the possibility of skin loss resulting in implant exposure or worse, total loss of the reconstruction. This is a devastating complication for both the patient and surgeon. SnapshotNIR can predict what area of the skin is likely to cause issues so it can be removed prophylactically to prevent downstream complications.
In colonic surgery for cancer, one of the most dreaded complications is a leak from the bowel anastomosis following removal of the cancer, resulting in pelvic abscess formation, a potentially fatal complication. By using the device to predict what bowel has an unreliable blood supply, the
at-risk tissue can be removed, resulting in a safer bowel anastomosis and an uncomplicated postoperative course.
EG: Tell us about the advancements that A.I. and machine learning will be able to bring and how Kent Imaging will be able to harness future technologies for the benefit of patients?
PL: Artificial or augmented intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is already positively impacting healthcare with the potential to revolutionise medical imaging by improving diagnostic accuracy, enhancing patient care algorithms, and increasing efficiency, ultimately benefiting patients in several ways. AI and ML algorithms allow early detection of disease, personalised treatment plans, and reduced healthcare costs. It is important to note that these technologies are not a replacement for human expertise and clinical judgment, but rather a tool to enhance the quality and efficiency of medical imaging. It allows clinicians to improve their evaluation and diagnostic skills.
EG: What do you feel contemporaries can do to elevate the standard of quality, innovation and keep Calgary on the map as a growing center for healthcare technology?
PL: Calgary is growing its reputation as a hub for innovation and technology. I am impressed with the knowledge-sharing happening across the province and how this ecosystem has centralised on Health Cities as a resource for companies looking to grow in Alberta.
There is a wealth of health data that is trapped in Alberta’s comprehensive medical record system. Unleashing that data could help fast-track algorithm development and accelerate the creation of novel solutions. By taking these steps, health technology innovators can elevate the standard of quality in Calgary, AB, and beyond to make a positive impact on the industry.
EG: How fundamental to the success of your business is quality customer service and how strongly correlated is this to increased market share in the MedTech field?
PL: In an ongoing process to ensure our customers are satisfied, we collect regular feedback from clinicians who are using the device. When trying to treat patients, the solution must be reliable. Our organization is responsible for ensuring minimal downtime for our users and delivering a quality product with timely service and support.
We are highly customer-service focused. You can’t put a price on someone who is willing to vouch for you in the market.
EG: Your technology helps reduce complications and improve outcomes through the delivery of tissue viability insight, and it is clear why you’ve won so many international accolades! As an award-winning firm, what have you learned about the importance of providing ethical solutions to problems?
PL: There are no shortcuts when doing things the right way. Awards are great but mean nothing if we do not have happy customers and a reliable product. Some of our core values at Kent are integrity and teamwork. We are highly ethical, doing the right thing for the right reasons, both internally and externally.
We communicate honestly, and respect and trust one another. We are one company, one team, working towards a set of common goals. Our collective strengths create synergy – we recognise that our combined contributions are more powerful than individual efforts.
EG: How has developing the corporate strategy and vision for Kent Imaging, deepened your insight into the medical technology sector, and what does ‘strategy’ mean to you?
PL: We are fortunate to collaborate with many expert wound care and surgical professionals and learn firsthand how they are making a difference in patient outcomes and how our device can help. This is a huge driver of our strategy. Technology changes rapidly and we are constantly striving to provide the best most cost-effective solutions. Strategy also includes having the resources we need to achieve our goals. Our partnership with TVM Life Science is crucial to our success. It is important that our team, our funding partners, and our collaborators are always closely aligned with our mission.
EG: Bringing better tools to physicians that result in reduced complications for patients and better outcomes, makes the world a better place with wider adoption. Tell us about the positive impact Kent Imaging has had on the patient community?
PL: The technology that we are developing is starting to change the way clinicians treat both acute and chronic wounds with actionable insights they never had before. Not only is that invaluable to the clinician but the ability to communicate to the patient what is happening is very impactful.
If you have ever experienced a wound care clinic firsthand, you would see just how intrusive wounds are. You cannot leave without feeling a deep desire to improve this situation for patients and our team is driven to deliver solutions. When showing patients and their families their images and how a wound has changed from week to week, they are instantly more motivated to follow the prescribed treatment. There is a renewed sense of hope. Without compliance, the success of treating wounds can falter.
EG: Being a prolific entrepreneur in this industry, what would you say to inspire the next generation of medical technology professionals?
PL: You make better decisions when you involve other people and ensure that everyone feels like they’re part of those decisions. Even if they don’t agree, at least they had a say. It sounds easy as a concept, but to put it into practice is difficult, especially in the early stages of a tech start up. Combining different experiences, objectives, and goals together in a cohesive team is a challenge, but success will follow. To have staying power, you need to be resilient.
EG: With over 35 years of your personal experience in healthcare technology and medical imaging and Kent Imaging’s multi-patents in oxygen imaging technology, how do you use that to stay ahead of the competition?
PL: I have had a passion for building high-tech imaging products for a long time. I am always learning and applying these learnings in collaboration with the highly skilled team at Kent.
As a team, we push the boundaries to be at the forefront of innovation. Patients who benefit from this device face many challenges. So, we are working with that in mind – what we’re building will improve someone’s quality of life dramatically. That means hiring high-performing professionals, collaborating with sought-after physicians in their respective fields, tactical guidance from our board, and respecting the competition to bring these critical diagnostic-driven solutions to patients and be competitive in the market.
EG: If you could identify one critical element required for any company to successfully go from start up to turning over their first million dollars, what would it be and why?
PL: It takes a great deal of time, determination, and conviction to envision, test and ultimately realise the creation of an entirely new diagnostic modality. About 10 years ago, the world went through a decade of exceptional innovation. The transition to mobile and the rise of data accelerated the growth of AI. We are still seeing this today. Growing a company in this environment takes grit. The struggle is part of the journey, so I say, embrace it.
There are always exciting challenges that need solutions and more innovation to drive these.
Kent Imaging certainly will keep driving in this direction – embrace the grit, the struggle, and the eventual emergence from it – with solutions that improve outcomes for those who need them. EG
Listen and learn from others.
Always put your customers’ needs first.
Think investment first over revenue.
» Helped to transform Kent Imaging’s cumbersome stand-based NIRS camera into a lightweight, portable, handheld device, SnapshotNIR.
» Lead the Kent Imaging team in achieving FDA and Health Canada clearance for SnapshotNIR, an imaging device that utilises reflectance-based technology to measure tissue oxygen saturation (StO2) in superficial tissue.
» Kent Imaging named one of the 20 most promising businesses to watch by
Global Business Leaders magazine.
» Kent Imaging launched SnapshotNIR 4.0 (KD204T) which included several upgrades such as improved wound measurement features, extensive reporting capabilities, better fingertip control functionalities, and non-calibration software.
» In 2023, the company expanded its sales to new international markets such as Australia, Israel, and Egypt.
Pierre Lemire is CEO of Kent Imaging. A technology commercialization expert with over 30 years of experience in the high-tech world of imaging, his past roles as a CTO at Autodesk Inc, and co-founder of Calgary Scientific provide key experiences that he uses to guide Kent Imaging’s corporate strategy and vision: www.KentImaging.com