Blackberry Takes Strides In Healthcare With Blockchain Solution
October 16, 2018 | by Nqaba Matshazi

Blackberry Takes Strides In Healthcare With Blockchain Solution

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Blockchain solution at the core of Blackberry’s strategy

Blackberry announced partnerships with multiple players in the healthcare industry, after launching its blockchain solution for the ultra-secure sharing of data.

The partnerships were announced shortly after the company launched its Blackberry Spark platform. Blackberry said the Blackberry Spark platform was the only Enterprise of Things (EoT) platform designed and built for ultra-secure hyperconnectivity from the kernel to the edge.

Spark platform to help improve patient care

The focus of Blackberry’s thrust into the healthcare sector is to leverage the Spark EoT platform to improve patient care with partnerships and customer-driven projects.

Blackberry chief executive officer and executive chairman, John Chen said the company was applying its “expertise in security, data privacy, and communication work in such disparate regulated industries as automotive, financial services, and government bodies to tackle one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry: leveraging healthcare endpoints to improve patient outcomes while ensuring security and data privacy.”

To that end, Blackberry said it had partnered with the Mackenzie Innovation Institute to explore security and connectivity between the BlackBerry Spark EoT platform and the latter’s “smart” healthcare technology vision.

Mackenzie Innovation Institute Chief Financial Officer, Richard Tam, said the two companies will focus on comprehensive security, patient privacy and intelligent connectivity. “By developing a deeper understanding and exploring how our ‘smart’ systems operate with BlackBerry Spark, we aim to uncover new ways to connect, protect and intuitively manage smart technologies in a hospital and positively impact high-quality patient care,” he said.

Blackberry also announced a partnership with Melanoma Institute Australia to help advance skin cancer research. The collaboration is meant to help researchers “securely share critical research data and patient records in a heavily regulated environment.”

The terms of the partnership, according to approved researchers will use “BlackBerry Workspaces to save and share data from medical histories and clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of treatments and interventions. The easy-to-use, encrypted collaboration solution will enable researchers to share timely clinical data, reduce the risk of data leakage, and accelerate research efforts.”

Melanoma Institute Australia Chief Information Officer, Ernie White said Blackberry Workspaces ticks all the right boxes for them because it provides a balance between security and ease of use.

“Our priority is to advance the treatment of melanoma, so any new technology must support the clinical journey for our clinicians, not interrupt it. As we continue to expand our research network, Melanoma Institute Australia is accelerating how our researchers can freely collaborate in a very regulated environment, while maintaining data integrity. BlackBerry Workspaces strikes that balance between security and ease-of-use, while helping to meet data compliance and our own digital transformation goals,” White said.

The partnerships will be anchored by ONEBIO, a peer-to-peer marketplace for biodata, which will provide the blockchain technology. This will then be powered by Blackberry’s carrier-grade network operation center.

Blockchain solution will ensure that data entered by patients, laboratories, and Internet of Things biometric devices will be tamper-proof and anonymous. The data can be shared with researchers.

Global Commission, an organization working to ensure that children with rare diseases are correctly diagnosed in order to expedite their treatment, has the honor of being the first to try out the new technology. Global Commission’s technology pilots, a press statement said, “will explore how BlackBerry’s new solution might provide real-time, actionable analysis even as the [Global] Commission seeks to use technology to shorten the time to diagnosis.”  

To cap it all, Blackberry says it has designed a highly secure operating system for secure medical devices known as QNX OS for Medical 2.0, which it described as a real-time operating system for the development of robotic surgical instruments, patient monitoring systems, infusion pumps, blood analysis systems, and other safety-critical products that must pass stringent regulatory approval.

This is a significant foray into the healthcare sector for Blackberry. The company announced its entry into this field in 2014, when it bought minority shares in health tech NantHealth.

While Blackberry’s investments in healthcare solutions have the market interested, it is the use of blockchain technology that has tickled the sector’s fancy. Blackberry was once a dominant smartphone maker but fell behind Apple and Samsung; some wonder whether the use of blockchain could mark the company’s rebirth.

Over the last few years, Blackberry stopped selling smartphones and instead moved into developing software. Since then, the Crypto Briefing website said, BlackBerry has since established itself as an incubator in the blockchain industry and a force in the software and security sectors.

 

Nqaba Matshazi
Healthcare Weekly Staff

Nqaba has been working as an investigative journalist for the last 10 years. He has written for various media outlets across the world.

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