BlackBerry's move to healthcare - a timeline
1984 - 1995: Beginnings
Research in Motion (RIM) is founded by two engineering students from Canada. In 1988 the company becomes the first wireless data technology developer in North America. Products include a wireless modem made by Ericsson containing RIM firmware. An investment round of C$5 million funds the development of RIM's two-way paging system hardware and software.
1998 - 2008: Rapid growth
The company's growth leads to a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In 1998 the first BlackBerry pager is released, so-called because of the keyboard's resemblance to the fruit. By 2008 BlackBerry is the leading smartphone around the world, until Apple launches the iPhone. BlackBerry responds by releasing its first touchscreen smartphone.
2013 - 2015: A new direction
The company changes its name from RIM to BlackBerry. John Chen is appointed as CEO, with a key goal to focus on the healthcare sector. The following year BlackBerry invests in NantHealth, a cloud-based clinical support platform. BlackBerry starts repositioning itself as a software company, acquiring several firms including WatchDox and AtHoc.
2016: Transitioning to cybersecurity
With its acquisition of UK firm Encription, BlackBerry signals its aim of focusing on cybersecurity. BlackBerry Secure, an enterprise mobile security platform for IoT, is released.
2018: Establishing a trusted brand
BlackBerry launches a number of products for the healthcare sector including Spark, its "Enterprise of Things" platform, and a blockchain solution for storing and sharing medical data anonymously. Additionally an operating system for the development of robotic surgical instruments, patient monitoring systems, and infusion pumps is released. This year the company also becomes a HIMSS Analytics certified consultant, enabling BlackBerry to help hospitals assess vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure.
2020: The leader in healthcare IoT security
A report by consultants Frost & Sullivan finds that BlackBerry is responsible for securing 96% of the enterprise IoT threat landscape. This includes solutions like BlackBerry Identity and Access Management, which prevents breaches by allowing enterprises to manage the network of users and their access to devices and data.
2021: Innovation in cybersecurity
Frost & Sullivan names the company an Innovator in Healthcare Cybersecurity after studying over fifty organisations and top cyber threats. Toronto-based University Health Network (UHN), the largest health research organisation in North America, selects BlackBerry Spark to protect its entire public research and teaching hospital network.
Commenting on these recent accomplishments, Neelam Sandhu, Senior Vice President and Chief Elite Customer Success Officer, said: "BlackBerry Spark is trusted by healthcare experts and organisations around the world for its next-gen AI cybersecurity that ensures critical workflows. Our platform is also HIPAA and HITECH compliant, giving healthcare organisations the peace of mind they need to focus on what is most important, while we seamlessly protect, prevent and remediate cyber threats.
"As we look to the future of the healthcare industry, there is no doubt that cyber attacks will continue to increase. BlackBerry facilitates and augments the great work accomplished on a daily basis by healthcare workers across the world to ensure you are safe and secure."
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.