Why BlackBerry has the potential to drive mHealth apps forward

There's some exciting news in world of mobile healthcare apps and at the forefront is BlackBerry, planning expand its enterprise footprint into the healthcare market.

Why is this exciting? Because BlackBerry is renowned for its business-focused devices and data security. It once had a knuckle-tight grip as a leader in smartphone technology for the business enterprise and lost that perch partly due to the bring-you-own-device trend that forced enterprises to shift and make room for users' devices. Yet, BlackBerry's security technology is why the White House, most of the stock market and top businesses still use its handsets and communications server for all things work-related.

As we've watched in the past year, data breaches have spiked, specifically within the retail market with top names, including Target, suffering from data break-ins and potential fallout with consumers, and their trust in the brand.

Financial data is valuable, confidential and needs to be protected. But healthcare data is even more valuable and just as confidential, and technology that can boost protection of that data is a welcome sight. Consumers are wary of healthcare devices and providers are nervous about putting such critical data not only on smartphones but in cloud computing environments. BlackBerry understands those concerns and has evidently mapped out a plan for the healthcare segment.

BlackBerry's foray began with its announcement, as FierceMobileHealthcare reported, that it was teaming up with NantHealth on a healthcare platform and smartphone. The players are developing a smartphone that will provide optimization for 3D images and CT scans. And just think that's just the starting point. When it arrives in 2015, I believe the smartphone will very likely be a turning point in mobile healthcare communication devices.

NantHealth has deep healthcare industry roots, with its clinical operating system now in use at 250 hospitals. As NantHealth founder Patric Soon-Shiong noted, BlackBerry's security expertise is incredibly valuable. And as BlackBerry CEO John Chen noted, the venture is a forward-looking collaboration that represents a solid starting point in driving super-secure approaches to mHealth devices and apps.

Shortly after came news that that BlackBerry is embracing healthcare apps, as well. It has now made the Axial Exchange patient engagement app available in its BlackBerry World store. It's clearly the starting point of what BlackBerry hopes to provide to the healthcare user. The Axial app lets users learn about medical conditions, track progress of healthcare efforts and can provide reminders during treatment and recovery times. It can also monitor glucose levels, blood pressure and even weight.           

I see it as just the start of a new secure mHealth frontier and it'll be of little surprise if BlackBerry ends up leading the charge as mHealth tech evolves. -Judy (@JudyMottl and@FierceHealthIT)