Security

BlackBerry's new blockchain tools could boost security for medical IoT

Fresh off the announcement of its Spark platform, BlackBerry unveiled a host of tools aimed at improving data privacy in healthcare.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies continue to proliferate in healthcare, BlackBerry has developed a set of technologies to help leverage these technologies while prioritizing data security, the company announced in a Thursday press release.

"We are applying our 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," BlackBerry CEO John Chen said in the release.

The first of these tools is a blockchain solution, powered by the company's network operation center (NOC), that aims to facilitate safer storage and transfer of medical data, the release said. For example, the data could be anonymized for use in medical research, it noted.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the blockchain (Tech Pro Research)

BlackBerry will be offering its blockchain tool to the Global Commission, an organization focused on eradicating rare diseases in children, the release said. The Global Commission hopes to use the tool to create real-time insights that will speed diagnoses.

The firm also announced QNX OS for Medical 2.0, a new operating system for secure medical devices. It's compliant with IEC 62304 safety-certification standards, and can assist in 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," the release said.

Additionally, BlackBerry announced partnerships with Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) and the Mackenzie Innovation Institute (Mi2). The company is working on healthcare innovation in both instances, but with different tools and approaches.

"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," Richard Tam, CFO of Mi2, said in the release. "Together, we will focus on comprehensive security, patient privacy and intelligent connectivity, all the while achieving the vision of the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT)."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • BlackBerry announced a new blockchain solution built with its NOC that helps facilitate safe storage and transfer of healthcare data,
  • BlackBerry's new QNX OS for Medical 2.0 is a secure OS for medical devices that could help in the development of surgical instruments, patient monitoring systems, and more.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/utah778

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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