Blackberry Competes With Apple for Healthcare Apps

Blackberry announced the product of their collaboration with NantHealth: a healthcare app for doctors and nurses who use their smartphones.

BlackBerry Ltd.’s investment in healthcare technology has produced its first applications targeted at doctors and nurses who use its smartphones.

The Canadian phone maker’s networks and devices will run apps developed by Los Angeles-based NantHealth, a healthcare company run by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. BlackBerry invested in NantHealth last April.

Health care is a key target for BlackBerry, said Chief Executive Officer John Chen. The first part of the deal will connect physicians’ BlackBerrys with a NantHealth system that analyzes tumors and recommends treatment options. It will be available early next year, the companies said. More applications are planned, Chen and Soon-Shiong said in a joint phone interview.

“We do have many hospitals and clinical groups that use our devices,” Chen said. “But what we’re talking here is much larger-scale if we become successful.”

Chen, who has said he plans to double software revenue to $500 million by March 2016, declined to comment on what the health-care business could be worth. Since he took over the Waterloo, Ontario-based company a year ago, Chen has narrowed his focus to industries that demand high levels of security like banking, government and health care.

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