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BlackBerry sets its sights on healthcare

April 21, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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While most healthcare professionals seem to prefer iOS apps over Android-based ones, they may soon have another option.

BlackBerry Limited just announced that it is buying a stake in NantHealth, a cloud-based medical IT provider that offers a single integrated clinical platform that is currently operational in approximately 250 hospitals, and connects more than 16,000 medical devices collecting more than 3 billion vital signs annually. 

Terms of the agreement and the amount of the buy-in were not disclosed.

In a press release posted on Blackberry's website, John Chen, CEO and Executive Chair of BlackBerry said, "This investment and planned collaboration aligns with the reliability, security and versatility of BlackBerry’s end-to-end solutions–from the embedded QNX operating system powering complex medical devices, to secure cloud-based networks, to instantaneous information sharing over BBM Protected. NantHealth is a proven innovator in developing leading platforms that allow medical professionals to share information and deliver care efficiently. BlackBerry’s capabilities align closely with NantHealth’s and this investment represents the type of forward-looking opportunities that are vital to our future.”

Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, NantHealth’s founder, added: "The future of the healthcare industry requires the ability to share information securely and quickly, whether device-to-device or doctor-to-doctor anywhere and at any time. The potential to integrate BlackBerry's secure mobile communications, along with the company’s QNX embedded technology, will put the power of a supercomputer in the palm of the caregiver's hand. Providing actionable information at the time of need will significantly improve the efficiency of healthcare and, more importantly, the efficacy of care for the patient.”

Once the preferred smartphone of professionals in all industries, BlackBerry has consistently lost market share to smartphones running Apple's iOS or the Android-based operating system.