BBM Protected and Healthcare: Benefits of security and real time collaboration


In the recent security summit, BlackBerry demonstrated how easy it is to hack into medical devices. In a hypothetical scenario, its easy to remotely shut down a vital equipment and harm a patient. That makes it imperative to have a secure and a robust backend. Which company provides that? Yes, it’s BlackBerry.

One of the most important aspects of medical care is interaction and collaboration between teams, each one geared for patient welfare. From the various stakeholders in the administration down to the dispensing of medications by the nurses to the housekeeping staff, a hospital is a huge organic mass and structure that needs its constant fine tuning with rigorous implementation of standard operating procedures for end results to be deemed optimal. This assumes importance as one of the end goals for this self sustaining entity is revenue generation. Indeed, this post also explores the possibility of having BBM as part of mobile health care delivery.

How is cross platform BlackBerry messenger (BBM) able to help in this? By equipping the various teams with a universal tool to be able to interact and update in real time. For example, consider the following scenario. A discharge of an in-patient when ordered by the doctor follows its routine through various clearances by disparate departments and people. A hospital that relies on a quick turn around time needs to alert the housekeeping staff to ready the bed. The admitting doctor in the other department ought to be able to get a real time update of the patients and availability. The pharmacy needs to be updated for the dispensing of medications for patients getting discharged and admitted. This harmonisation would lead to optimal utilisation of the resources making it easier for the hospital to maximise its resources for end goals.

At the heart of this scenario lies the instant communication – BBM. This allows collaboration between the various teams, real time information sharing, its quick and adaptive file sharing, calendar entries, fixing up meetings etc because the BlackBerry 10 platform is designed from ground up for this work scenario.

Why BBM and why not other instant messenger like WhatsApp?

BBM offers a real protection called as BBM Protected. This works by generating the encryption keys in the devices itself which ensures that the transmitted information cannot be hacked.

BBM Protected uses FIPS 140-2 certified cryptographic libraries to ensure that BBM Protected satisfies the security requirements for protecting unclassified information as defined by the Federal Information Processing Standards. BBM Protected meets or exceeds NIST Suite B Cryptography for signing, encrypting and hashing. (emphasis mine).

This assumes importance in recent organic and inorganic acquisitions that BlackBerry has made, specifically targeted to healthcare. It only goes to prove that the company has more offerings for the healthcare industry.

More specifically, the chat messengers need to comply with the the strict privacy standards designed for securely transmitting the patient information. WhatsApp is a pitifully miserable failure in ensuring privacy.

Personally, this author has been reliant on BBM with his limited high value contacts who value the role of using a safe and secure modes of communication.

Of late, BBM introduced a nifty feature of being able to interact with the contacts outside your circle of trusted contacts (called as Extended Contacts), which made it easier for me to extend patient support. Here’s two different set of scenarios wherein I use this application to extend support to the patients at remote locations from my pace of work. Please note that the names have been obscured for privacy reasons.

MRI Platelets


Please note that the BBM Protected chat is created automatically, making it very easy for this author to interact safely and securely. This author is also trialling this service for following up with the patients and keeping them motivated for medications, rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

BBM Protected is truly a brilliant application enabling the process of interacting with the patients in a safe and secure environment and making the treatment decisions that benefits them immediately to allay their anxieties. Many patients’ families have given a positive feedback on the ease of the use of application as well.

Through this medium, this author would also like to thank to the people who enabled this service and made this happen. This author would also like to thank the developers and the teams creating this wonderful product and in some way, their efforts are touching and impacting my patients in a meaningful manner.


BlackBerry Forever!

  • davemorgan

    Great to see a real life case of BBM Protected being used in ‘real world’.

    Great Article thanks.

  • Rog518za

    I wish BBM Protected was available to all.

  • ital1

    Great article! It’s great to see the practical application of the technology we follow as BlackBerry fans and supporters.