BlackBerry subsidiary debuts OS for mHealth device development

BlackBerry subsidiary QNX Software Systems is debuting a new OS just for medical devices, one that promises to meet industry standards and cut the cost of mHealth device development.

The QNC OS for Medical 1.1, which the vendor states complies with IEC 62304, will help manufacturers attain regulatory approval from federal oversight agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Medical Device Directive and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

"When it comes to medical device software, the OS sets the tone: Unless it provides the architecture to enable reliable operation and a clear audit trail to substantiate claims about its dependability, the entire process of device approval can be put in jeopardy," Grant Courville, QNX director of product management, said in an announcement.

The release is BlackBerry's third major piece of mHealth news to come in the past four months. In mid-April, the handset maker announced it was partnering with NantHealth to collaborate on mHealth devices. Later that same month, it announced it would offer Axial Exchange's patient engagement app in its app store for several BlackBerry modes.

Still, BlackBerry seemingly has a long road to catch up with smartphone competitors Samsung and Apple in mHealth platform and product developments, as well as Microsoft and Google.

Samsung is building a new mHealth platform called SAMI, described as an open biometric system that will be used to collect and correlate data from its wearable devices including Gear, Fitbit and Jawbone. Meanwhile, Apple debuted its HealthKit in June, a virtual service framework fostering data sharing between patients and medical professionals, third-party devices such as Nike's FuelBand wearables and medical institutions.

Additionally, Microsoft is building a smartwatch that boasts sensors for monitoring and tracking a wearer's heart rate that will be operable with iPhone, Windows Phones and Android devices. And Google just unveiled a health platform called Google Fit that will aggregate data from fitness-tracking devices and health-related apps.

The QNX OS supports both single-core and multi-core devices using ARMv7 and Intel x86 processors, as well as API compatibility, which provides a high degree of software re-use, says QNX. That means less money spent on architecture building for devices used in a wide range of medical procedures, including laser eye surgery, hemodynamic monitoring and angiography systems.

For more information:
- read the announcement

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