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Technology and communications giant BlackBerry launched a blockchain-based operating system to govern a medical record-sharing and storage platform, according to a press release issued on October 4, 2018.

Blockchain-Powered Medical Ecosystem

The announcement follows the launch of BlackBerry Spark – an Enterprise-of-Things (EoT) platform – earlier this week. The platform is built for monitoring and managing “hyperconnected” devices for enterprises and individuals and provides military-grade security, multi-device accessibility, and a consumer-friendly interface.

The blockchain system was developed by ONEBIO, a biotechnology solutions provider, as BlackBerry aims to take its Spark platform a step ahead and provide verifiable medical data to consumers, hospitals, and surgeons to improve clinical outcomes. The company believes the product tackles one of the biggest challenges associated with the healthcare sector which is sharing medical records while ensuring data privacy.

The system shall be housed on BlackBerry’s renowned Network Operation Center (NOC), a cloud-based dynamic I.P. protocol which underpinned the company famed Messenger service. The NOC allows for universal access to uploaded data sets regardless of location, server, or device limitations. Spark customers will use NOC to input data from patients, laboratories, and IoT biometric devices. Collated data will be cryptographically secured and shared with researchers worldwide.

Spark contributors, such as doctors, researchers, and hospitals, can access the multiple datasets using BlackBerry Workspaces to store medical data and share clinical histories to obtain the effectiveness of treatments. By encrypting the collaboration, researchers can reduce the risk of data leakage while accelerating research efforts.

Companies Already Adopting Spark

The service will be offered to the Global Commission; a philanthropic organization focused on providing the correct diagnosis for children with rare diseases. The organization is funded by Shire, one of the world’s largest global biotech focused on rare diseases, and could use BlackBerry’s blockchain solution to provide real-time, actionable analysis in a significantly shorter period than currently taken.

Meanwhile, the Mackenzie Innovation Institute (Mi2) is finding synergy between its smart healthcare technology and BlackBerry’s Spark platform for security and connectivity purposes. The former drives innovation in healthcare through research, education, and training, and seeks to enhance treatments, healthcare practices, and service delivery models.
Richard Tam, the Chief Financial Officer of Mi2, stated:

“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.”

Unlike the use cases mentioned above, the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), which pioneers prevention and cure of skin cancer, has already tested, selected, and will soon deploy BlackBerry Spark to securely share critical research data and patient records with researchers and institutions.

Dedicated BlackBerry OS Launched

To ensure the system’s intended security and compliance, BlackBerry has launched a dedicated operating system for the healthcare sector. Called QNX OS for Medical 2.0, the program is a real-time data provider for developing healthcare technology like patient monitoring systems, surgical robots, infusions pumps, and other safety-critical products.

The OS has passed strict regulatory approval and boasts of IEC 62304 safety-certification standards, which could help assure device manufacturers about using the regulatory-approved software suitable for thousands of life-critical environments.