BBM 6th-ave-with-empire-state-building

BlackBerry is going to help personal healthcare portal Sharecare Inc. natively integrate aspects of its software into apps that will be available on iOS and Android, according to an announcement made Wednesday.

Sharecare is an Atlanta-based firm that encourages its customers to take the RealAge test, assessing personal health metrics like eating, exercise, and sleep habits. From there, users download the AskMD app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play to receive personalized health consultations with a health professional. The app can also be used in the U.S. to find a local doctor based on speciality and other filters such as language and experience.

Another app, Sharecare beta, offers to monitor your stress levels based on your voice during your normal phone calls. Now, thanks to the help of BlackBerry that app can be made available to Apple’s iOS users, says Jennifer Martin, vice-president of communications at Sharecare.

Sharecare beta aims to find out how stressed you are based on your voice during phone calls.
Sharecare beta aims to find out how stressed you are based on your voice during phone calls.

“It’s about having access to the actual phone functionality on iPhone, Apple doesn’t open that up,” she says in an interview with ITBusiness.ca. “But if you’re using it through the BBM technology, it helps us work around that.”

BlackBerry will be lending the company aspects of its BBM messaging and VoIP infrastructure capabilities for use in its apps. According to BlackBerry, Sharecare will combine its “proprietary fractal voice analysis into BlackBerry’s secure messaging.” The idea is that users will be able to confidently store their health information in the portal and enable healthcare professionals easy access to it.

This will be a first for BlackBerry, which hasn’t allowed other app makers to use its software previously. What’s not new is BlackBerry’s release of software to other operating systems, as BBM is available on iOS and BBM.

The partnership makes sense for Sharecare because user privacy is so important when it comes to details about health, Martin says. Sharecare’s expertise is in digital health, not digital security.

“There’s no one with better chops in privacy and security than BlackBerry,” she says. “It seemed like a great marriage to us.”

BlackBerry will also help secure the information users input to AskMD, Martin says. Its components its lending will also be the basis of many future software offerings for Sharecare customers.

While Sharecare isn’t available in Canada yet, Martin says that international expansion is something on the agenda for the company in 2016 and that Canada is high on the priority list.

Sharecare is co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the same as featured on television as Dr. Oz and endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Its other co-founder Jeff Arnold, was the founder of WebMD.

ShareCare's AskMD app stores a user's health information and connects them with healthcare professionals.
ShareCare’s AskMD app stores a user’s health information and connects them with healthcare professionals.