BlackBerry announces major investment in healthcare sector IT

BlackBerry chief executive John Chen’s ongoing strategy of repositioning his company as a secure cloud and mobility services provider has taken another step, with the company investing in a healthcare industry cloud services provider called NantHealth.

NantHealth’s main product is a cloud-based end-to-end system for the healthcare industry called the Clinical Operating System cOS, which includes integrated management of patient health records, financial accounting data, lab or pharmacy data, medical or genome imaging and connecting with patient medical monitoring devices.

The software, which NantHealth claims has been installed in 250 hospitals and connected to 16,000 medical devices globally, also uses machine learning and data analytics to provide real-time information to medical staff.

The companies are currently looking at a range of possible collaborations, including the use of BlackBerry’s QNX real-time operating system for embedded devices or the use of BBM protected messaging in a hospital environment.

In a statement, Chen said the investment represents the type of “forward-looking… creative opportunity” he sees as being vital to BlackBerry’s future.

After the initial announcement, Chen wrote an editorial for business news channel CNBC, explaining his rationale for choosing the healthcare sector.

“As the health-care industry changes, a secure and robust technology infrastructure becomes all the more vital — not only to keep doctors and nurses current on patient care, but also to ensure compliance with privacy laws and streamline sometimes cumbersome and confusing billing procedures,” Chen said.

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