Blackberry announces healthcare applications for Spark platform, blockchain ledger
- BlackBerry is looking to leverage its new Spark "enterprise of things" platform to improve patient care with partnerships and customer-driven projects.
- The company will use its network operation center to power a blockchain ledger to securely store and share medical data. The digital ledger was developed by Cape Town, South Africa, biotech incubator ONEBIO.
- The mobile device pioneer has also developed a real-time operating system for developing robotic surgical instruments, patient monitoring systems, infusion pumps and other connected medical devices. QNX OS for Medical 2.0 is certified to international safety standard IEC 62304, the company said.
With Thursday's announcement, BlackBerry boosts its stake in healthcare. The company, which has struggled in recent years with declining mobile phone sales, acquired a minority interest in NantHealth in 2014, with plans to help the tech firm build a platform connecting medical devices at hospitals in India. However, its healthcare activity has been nowhere as visible companies like Google, Apple and IBM.
Still, blockchain, data security and IoT are all garnering lots of attention, so it will be interesting to see how BlackBerry fares against the competition. Providers have signaled their willingness to invest in these types of services, though barriers to widescale adoption remain, such as identifying clinical use cases.
"We are applying out expertise in security, data privacy, and communication work in regulated industries such as automotive, financial services, and government to tackle one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry: leveraging healthcare endpoints to improve patient outcomes while ensuring security and data privacy," John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of Blackberry, said in a statement.
The blockchain ledger will initially be used by the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children with a Rare Disease, which was created by Shire Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft and EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe. BlackBerry said one of the group's technology pilots will explore the blockchain's ability to provide real-time, actionable analysis to shorten time to diagnosis.
BlackBerry is also partnering with the Mackenzie Innovation Institute, part of Ontario-based Mackenzie Health, to explore security and connectivity between its new Spark platform and Mi2's "smart" healthcare technology efforts.