BlackBerry Plans Medical Tool for Its Passport Smartphone

08 Dec 2014
BlackBerry Ltd. said it plans to launch, early in the new year, a mobile diagnostic tool for its Passport device to allow doctors to securely access cancer patients' medical data from any location.

The new browser is the latest move in the Canadian smartphone maker's effort to win back core enterprise customers and is the first technology offering developed with NantHealth, the IT provider in which it acquired a minority stake this past April.

The new offering from Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry comes as it tries to revive slumping sales by developing mobile security software and services aimed at business customers, following a failed attempt last year to expand into the consumer market.

This browser "really highlights (BlackBerry's) advantage in mobile security" for the health-care sector and other regulated industries, John Chen, BlackBerry's chief executive, said in an interview. Industries such as health care face strict regulations on protecting confidential data.

The new browser will equip doctors with a mobile computer to help them quickly and accurately decide on the appropriate treatment for a patient, Patrick Soon-Shiong, NantHealth's chief executive said.

Currently, it takes weeks for a doctor to get back tests from a biopsy, so they may be forced to decide on treatment before seeing the test results, Mr. Soon-Shiong said. NantHealth's genome browser allows physicians to view and analyze test results as soon as they become available, he said.

California-based NantHeath's cloud-based technology is used in over 250 hospitals.

BlackBerry and NantHealth haven't specified an exact release date for the browser, which will come pre-loaded on BlackBerry's Passport smartphone.

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