The Canada-headquartered enterprise software & services company and a former smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry is the latest to join blockchain bandwagon. The company has announced its plans to launch a new blockchain-based platform for storing and sharing medical data. Using its carrier-grade network operation center (NOC) to support the digital ledger, which would be developed by biotech incubator ONEBIO, BlackBerry plans to create a secure global ecosystem for the storing and sharing of patients' records. For example, data could be inputted by patients, laboratories, and Internet of Things (IoT) biometric devices, and then anonymized so this data can be shared with researchers to improve patient outcomes. 

John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry said:

"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's first client for the blockchain solution will be the Global Commission, an organization focused on ending the diagnostic odyssey for children with a rare disease. Co-chaired by the Shire, the global biotech focused on rare diseases, one of the Global Commission's technology pilots will explore how BlackBerry's new solution might provide real-time, actionable analysis as the Commission seeks to use technology to shorten the time to diagnosis.

BlackBerry has also launched a new operating system QNX OS for Medical 2.0, a real-time operating system for the development of robotic surgical instruments, patient monitoring systems, infusion pumps, blood analysis systems, and other safety-critical products. With QNX OS for Medical 2.0, medical device manufacturers will have the assurance of using trusted software field-proven in thousands of life-critical environments, including in FDA Class III medical devices, the company said.

BlackBerry has also been selected by the Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA), which pioneers the prevention and cure of melanoma, to enable researchers to securely share critical research data and patient records in a heavily regulated environment. Approved contributors in the network, such as scientists and doctors at different hospitals, can use BlackBerry Workspaces to save and share data from medical histories and clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of treatments and interventions. The easy-to-use, encrypted collaboration solution will enable researchers to share timely clinical data, reduce the risk of data leakage, and accelerate research efforts, the company added. 

Ernie White, Chief Information Officer of Melanoma Institute of Australia said:

"Our priority is to advance the treatment of melanoma, so any new technology must support the clinical journey for our clinicians, not interrupt it. As we continue to expand our research network, Melanoma Institute Australia is accelerating how our researchers can freely collaborate in a very regulated environment, while maintaining data integrity. BlackBerry Workspaces strikes that balance between security and ease-of-use, while helping to meet data compliance and our own digital transformation goals."

Earlier in June of this year, U.S. retail giant Walmart secured a patent for a system that would store medical records on a blockchain from a wearable device. The system would allow medical professionals to retrieve medical data from a patient that is unable to communicate.