Why HANDI and why should I join?

Those behind HANDI believe that Apps (click here for a definition of an App) have a key role in transforming the way we deliver health and care and promote well-being and what to make this transformation as quick and easy as possible.

We know from our own experience that developing and successfully launching an App brings many challenges and can see massive benefits in the creation of HANDI as an open and inclusive organisation that will deliver learning and networking opportunities for developers and others interest in health and care Apps.

We also know that the full exploitation of the potential of Apps in Health and Care requires that existing systems are open up so that Apps can interoperate with them and that we need to create an ecosystem with infrastructural services to support transformative Apps and deliver the HANDI Vision for Health and Care. These requires those involved with App to campaign with Government, industry, the NHS and other health and care providers so that they understand the power of Apps and support the creation of an environment where they can flourish. We need HANDI to do this.

There are other organisations who share all or part of our vision and it is our intention to build strong partnerships with them (indeed many of our initial promoters already have close relationships with them) However, there is no organisation which is focused on just Apps in Health and Care with a broad inclusive remit across all platform and all business models that can take a truly independent position to promote our vision.

By joining HANDI you will get support to improve your return on investment (social and/or commercial) on any Apps you write or commission. HANDI will help you minimise investment - find ways to do things more cost-effectively and avoid wasting time or treasure. It will also help you increase the up-take of your apps and find opportunities for promotion and synergy?

What are the Governance Arrangements for HANDI

We have applied to register HANDI as a Community Interest Company (CIC) Limited by Guarantee and expect our application to be approve in April 2012.

CICs are a relatively new form of incorporation introduce to provided a legal identity for organisations whose aims are to deliver a community benefit rather than make profits for shareholders. CICs are “asset locked” which means that those who control the company can’t sell or transfer assets built up by the company for their benefit but have to apply them to the community interest or in the event of dissolution transfer them to another asset locked body with compatible objectives (i.e. another CIC or a charity).

CICs sit somewhere between a commercial limited company and a registered charity. Like a charity they are asset lock but they can apply their assets to “community benefit” which are define more widly  than “charitable purposes” and have more freedom to engage in commercial actives to support their aims and objectives than is the case with a charity. There are various forms of CIC and HANDI has chosen what is probably the most restrictive a CIC Limited by Guarantee. In this type of CIC there are no shareholders and the company is controlled by its Members who guarantee to meet a fixed amount of the company's liabilities if it is dissolved (usually a nominal figure like £10) each member has one vote and an equal share in the control of the company appointing Officers to run the company, which can include themselves.

It is important to note the distinction between Members of the Company and Members of the HANDI Network. We plan for HANDI to have a small number of Members of the Company carrying the legal responsibility as Trustees for good governance and Members of the Network which will hope will be large in inclusive who will carry no such responsibilities. We plan to develop governance arrangements as we take HANDI forward and expect that Members of the Network will have a role in appointing Members of the Company and its Officers.

Unlike a charity a CIC can pay its Trustees reasonable salaries or fees for work done on behalf of the company and we hope that HANDI will reach the point when it can do this and employ other staff. However, for the initial period all of those acting as as Trustees or Promoters are working on a pro bono basis and HANDI has no immediately plans for paid staff.

For details of the initial promoters and Officers see Who is Behind HANDI.

How is HANDI Funded?

The aim is to make HANDI self-funding through fees for membership and services and through commercial advertising and sponsorship. However, we want to keep basic services free forever and to provide full membership and services on a free basis during our initial period of development. We hope to be able to do this with the help of grants and donations as well as commercial advertising and sponsorship.

The initial funding for HANDI has been provided through donations from some of it promoters in cash and kind. We plan to keep our cost low by operating as a virtual organisation using low cost technology to deliver services on a self-service basis and will continue to rely on our promoters and members willingness to donate their time and resource to HANDI in support of mutual benefit fro themselves and the broader membership.

Is HANDI just for the UK?

HANDI has a UK focus and plans physical as well a virtual activities with well advanced plans for London and Newcastle and less well developed plans for Warwick, Cardiff and Edinburgh, all built round existing innovation centres. However, we want to create international links building on those that many of our promoters already have with both the developed and developing world.

We see promoting the interests of the UK Apps developer and steering international developments to meet the specific needs of the UK health and care system as important parts of our role and many of our activities will be focused on  UK needs.

However, we know we have a lot to learn for developments outside of the UK and believe that we have much to offer in return. We also recocgnise the importance of influencing international developments so that that they support our objectives and the need to help UK App developers to address international markets.

We have a particular interest in the developing world where many factors are driving their health and care systems to embrace the Apps approach must faster than in the developed world. Just as wireless communications has leap-froged copper in the third world health and care apps are likely to leap-frog big monolithic health IT. In particular we are interested and in learning from and supporting developments to deliver low-cost health and care through  App enabled village health workers.

About Apps in General

What is an App?

At one level “App” is just a abbreviation for “software application” another name for a computer program. More specifically the term has been used to mean a mobile app i.e. a computer program that runs on a mobile device like a phone but more recently mobile style apps have migrated to other devices including tablets, smart televisions and even the traditional PCs so running on a mobile device is no longer the essence of what an App is.

While an App then is just another computer program HANDI believe what we have come to call an App has some important features that differentiate from a traditional computer program and that it useful to continue to use the term to differentiate computer programs running under this new paradigm for traditional programs.

So what are these differentiators?

  • Apps, generally don’t stand alone but need to call on data and or services stored beyond the device on which they are running to perform their function so although they might be designed to preserve some functionality when offline they are basically applications that need connectivity to operate.
  • Apps, tend to be designed to perform a small range of functions (hopefully very well) rather than to perform many functions with mediocrity as is typically the case with the monolithic integrated applications of the old paradigm.
  • Apps, are built with a much greater use of pre-existing components and services than traditional applications making them easier and quicker to produce and more reliable in operation.
  • Apps lend themselves to being orchestrated together to provide a customised set of functions to meet the needs of a individual user.

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