By Patryk Fournier
QNXYou know the feeling you get when you’ve recently been introduced to a new word or name of a band, and then suddenly it seems to pop up everywhere? It’s called frequency illusion or the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Get ready to experience that feeling.
Most people know BlackBerry’s subsidiary QNX Software Systems as the realtime OS provider for over 60 million automobiles or for the some of the largest Internet routers in the world. But when I tell people that QNX technology is also heavily integrated in the medical devices market and is the foundation for innovative surgical robots, large-scale angiography systems and cardiac defibrillators, I’m often met with surprise – “I thought QNX was just in cars.”
It is easy to understand why people associate QNX and cars as easily as peanut butter and jelly. In a report released last year, IHS Automotive named QNX the premier software supplier in the infotainment market with more than 50% market share. This market leadership often overshadows the success of QNX in other industries, such as healthcare.
Were you aware that since the 1980s the QNX Neutrino OS has been powering a wide array of medical devices, many of which are Class III life-critical systems? It’s true, the world’s largest medical device manufacturers trust QNX to help run their blood diagnostics, ultrasound imaging, infusion therapy, patient monitoring, heart resuscitation, CT scanning and numerous other applications.
So why are so many medical device manufacturers eager to work with us? Well, in addition to our deep experience in the healthcare market, we are very well versed with IEC 62304, a standard for the design of medical device software that has been endorsed by regulatory agencies in both the European Union and the US. If you’re running an FDA-approved application or medical device, it only makes sense that the OS for the application or device complies with this standard. The reality is that most OSs don’t comply with IEC 62304, which is sort of like buying a house that meets a building inspection only on the outside and not on the interior framing.
Keeping with the construction analogy, architecture is central to what makes our OS so trusted and reliable for medical device manufacturers. Our OS employs a microkernel architecture, a highly modular approach that allows developers to create “self-healing” systems that recover dynamically from software faults and that makes it easier to detect and fix bugs while a system is in development.
The association of automotive and QNX will always be strong. QNX Software Systems has expertly leveraged the know-how and technology it has developed for this market into solutions for other industries and devices – including the QNX medical offering. Just remember you can’t spell cardiac without “car.”
Mobility offers enormous potential for delivering the best quality patient care, but there are a lot of issues to consider in creating a secure mobile healthcare strategy. Our new book, The BlackBerry Guide to Mobile Healthcare, and webinar series help decision makers address some of the key challenges. Click here to get your free copy of The BlackBerry Guide to Mobile Healthcare and visit BlackBerry Enterprise Webcast Central for archived webcasts on Why Home Healthcare Should Go Mobile, Clinical Collaboration and Hospital Staff Coordination and other enterprise topics.