BlackBerry Invests In Cloud-Based Health-care Provider


BlackBerry is betting on the health-care industry to help power a turnaround.

The Ontario-based smartphone company announced Tuesday, that it has invested in NanthHealth, a cloud-based medical IT provider.

The Culver City, Calif.-based health-care IT firm specializes in connecting medical devices to share health-care records digitally. The two companies intend to collaborate to securely transfer these medical records, but also expand their services in the health-care field.

[Related: BlackBerry On The Rebound? 10 Hopeful Signs]

BlackBerry did not reveal the amount it invested in NanthHealth or what percentage stake it now owns in the company.

"I think it can turn their company around because of the sheer volume of customers they would potentially reach out to," said David Felton, founder of Canaan Technology, a BlackBerry partner based in Norwalk, Conn, speaking about the Blackberry health-care offensive. "The mindset in the health-care market is that you do lose some convenience for security. It would be a more natural fit to outfit someone with a BlackBerry. It's a lot more acceptable to be handed a device that has strong locks on it. They'd be able to say 'I have BlackBerry because it's a tool, not an [Apple] iPhone because it's a toy.' "

Felton said the benefit to partners like Canaan Technology will likely 10 to 14 months down the road.

The NantHealth platform connects over 16,000 medical devices, and is already set up in about 250 hospitals, collecting over 3 billion vital signs a year, according to a BlackBerry statement.

"NantHealth is a proven innovator in developing leading platforms that allow medical professionals to share information and deliver care efficiently," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in the statement. "BlackBerry's capabilities align closely with NantHealth's, and this investment represents the type of forward-looking opportunities that are vital to our future."

PUBLISHED APRIL 15, 2014