Mar 172012

People keep asking “are apps things that run on mobile phones?” and keep talking about “mHealth” as the coming thing.

Well, yes apps run on mobile phones and ubiquitous connectivity changes the world, but there is an underlying “app" paradigm that’s more important so forget the “m” and concentrate on the paradigm.

While it is true that the “app” paradigm comes from the mobile world, the mobility of apps is not the primary thing that makes them a powerful, disruptive technology, rather it is their other characteristics, and these can apply irrespective of the device an app is running on and the modality of its current connection.

My vision for an app is that it is an agile, lightweight and intrinsically connected thing, running on whatever device, from phone to 80 inch digital TV, that happens to be right for the user at any moment, adjusting itself to the form factor of the device it’s currently running on, using mobile connectivity when it’s mobile with a seamless handover of app and data as the user moves from device to device.

Apps are easy to build; at their most powerful when designed do a few things well; are easy to distribute, install and use; and with care can be orchestrated to work together.

Apps are easy to build because they make substantial use of pre-built components in a well defined development framework and can make use of third party data and services, available to them in the cloud, allowing the developer to concentrate on the unique not the generic features of their app.

App stores make it cheap and easy for developers to promote and distribute their app and for users to find and install it

Finally, if they have an appropriate platform, open APIs and a few standards Apps can be orchestrated to work together to meet the broader needs of an individual user.

Together, these thing drive cost down, quality up and enable new ways of working.

Already this new paradigm has produced a flurry of free or low-cost apps in health and care and enabled people who previously could not have got their idea to market to do so. But, this is only the beginning. If we can work together to make it even easier and cheaper to build health and care apps and if we can encourage the development/adoption of open APIs, open platforms and open standards to facilitate the orchestration of apps to support the processes of health and care, we will improve well-being and transform the way health and care are delivered .

This is what HANDI is about. Join us.

Ewan Davis
Director HANDI

  9 Responses to “Forget the “m” and concentrate on the paradigm”

  1. Great post. The advantages of this paradigm are abundant and we are really just at the beginning of what could be a key element to addressing the pressures of diminishing health resources.

  2. Reblogged this on Sarah's Blog.

  3. […] “Forget the ‘M’ “ and “What’s an App” for further thoughts on […]

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