BlackBerry says it has bought a stake in U.S.-based healthcare IT company NantHealth, a move that will allow the smartphone maker to use its expertise in network security and real-time operating systems in hospitals.

The Waterloo, Ont., company said the companies will collaborate on government privacy-certified clinical systems that will allow health-care professionals to securely share information and deliver care efficiently.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the investment in NantHealth is the type of investment that's important to the company's future.

Chen was hired last November to turn around BlackBerry, which has seen consumers leave in droves for Apple iPhone and Android smartphones as well as some businesses and government departments.

He has moved to reduce costs, partly through layoffs, and is finding new ways to capitalize on BlackBerry's technology.

California-based NantHealth said its platform is installed in about 250 hospitals and connects more than 16,000 medical devices.

The companies say BlackBerry's QNX division, which developed the BlackBerry 10 operating system, is seen as a key part of diagnostic and monitoring devices in hospitals and homecare environments.

"BlackBerry's capabilities align closely with NantHealth's and this investment represents the type of forward-looking opportunities that are vital to our future," Chen said in a news release on Tuesday.