BlackBerry, NantHealth debut health data hub

BlackBerry is forging ahead on its mobile healthcare strategy, debuting the newest generation of its healthcare data hub HBox, developed by NantHealth, which promises to boost diagnostic and treatment efforts.

NantHealth describes HBox as a supercomputer providing a genomic signal that "interrogates" blood, cancer or potential disease and shares data with a patient's physician, according to a report at PC Magazine. The initial generation system is already collecting 3 billion user vital signs and sharing data via medical devices at 250 U.S. hospitals. NantHealth's HBox runs on QNX Software Systems technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of BlackBerry.

"Imagine us having an ability like Google Maps, but to browse every single human patient's genome, find the abnormal letter in real-time, and tell the doctor what treatment is to be given," NantHealth CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong said at a press conference at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

HBox will integrate with BlackBerry handsets that the partners say provide needed security to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. The tool also will integrate with wearables, such as a smartwatch, for providing users information and communication with caregivers. Soon-Shiong described the healthcare data hub as providing "quantified self" health tracking, incorporating everything from diet to fitness to medication to treatment.

An upcoming trial will involve 100,000 patients managing pre-hypertension or hypertension. HBox will collect data on blood pressure, heart rate, medication intake and weight, according to Soon-Shiong.

HBox is BlackBerry and NantHealth's second recent collaborative effort. The pair developed a clinical genome browser tool--NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser--which provides doctors access to patients' genetic data via a BlackBerry Passport smartphone. The two players announced plans last April for a mobile version of NantHealth's certified clinical platform and are readying a BlackBerry device specific to the healthcare sector.

In addition to the HBox collaboration, BlackBerry also announced at CES this week it will be deploying BlackBerry Messenger functionality on a wide range of Android Wear smartwatches. Doing so will enable BBM users access messaging on those devices, as well as BlackBerry handsets.

"The integration of BBM to support wearable technology is just one way we're expanding the capabilities of our portfolio and delivering exciting options for customers to easily access BlackBerry's cross-platform technologies," Herman Li, senior VP, BBM Engineering and Product Management, BlackBerry, said in a statement.

For more information:
- read the PC Magazine article
- here's the BlackBerry announcement