The Scottish cluster of the Healthcare App Network for Development and Innovation has been launched at the Health Informatics Scotland conference in Edinburgh.

HANDI is a not for profit organisation that holds workshops to discuss how the app approach can be used to improve health and care for staff and patients. Clusters are already in place across England.

Richard Brady, a surgeon at NHS Lothian and one of the facilitators of HANDI Scotland, told EHI it provides a platform for those looking to advance the mobile health agenda.

“It provides a community for people, especially young physicians who have ideas, but don’t necessarily have the tools or the ability to take that forward,” he said.

Brady recognises the need for apps, but also that a good idea can be difficult to get off the ground, especially when dealing with the NHS.

“I guess my primary goal is to learn to connect and to be confident that the community who try to develop mobile apps are making progress in the right direction and get insight into how to deliver our vision.”

HANDI, which marked its one year anniversary in May this year, was created by developers, clinicians and others interested in health apps. Founder Ewan Davis of Woodcote Consulting told EHI that branching out to Scotland was a natural move.

“We wanted UK coverage. HANDI goes where the interest is and does what our members want to do. There’s a fair amount of interest in apps in Scotland, with lots of clinicians doing things themselves,” he said.

“There’s a natural tendency for health informatics to be England focused, but the next biggest piece is Scotland. There’s a lot of useful innovation here in Scotland”.

During the two day Edinburgh conference, HANDI is running an ‘un-conference’, bringing people together to create solutions to health and social care problems.

HANDI Health Apps is coming to EHI Live for the first time. The HANDI Health Apps zone will be dedicated to health and care apps. It includes a workshop on how to build your first app, an app village featuring leading suppliers, and presentations on the opportunities for apps in health and care. This year’s conference is free for all visitors to attend.