Smartphones changed the way I use the internet. My previous online behaviour seems almost quaint now.
Online maps, for example, were already pretty useful before I could access them on my phone. But a map on my phone - that knows where I am as well as where I'm going - is quite a lot more useful than a those A4 print outs I used to carry around. And a map on my phone that knows where I am and where I'm going, and with layers of additional useful information helping me to make choices about the thing I'm looking for, is even more useful than that.
Like a third of British adults, mobile internet apps have become integral to many of the things I do each day. Apps for networking like Twitter and Yammer, apps for reading like Reeder, apps for phoning home like Skype, apps for reminding me what to do like Remember the Milk. I use these apps every day. They have real utility, helping me to efficiently do specific things.
But apps can do far more than help me to be a bit more efficient. The Department of Health is responsible for a lot of information and a lot of data. In its raw state some of it will only be useful to people with the specialist skills and knowledge to interpret it. Apps could make our data more useful to more people, providing new ways to access and interrogate it, helping people to make decisions about their own health and care.
There are plenty of examples of health apps already of course. You don't have to look too hard to find them. If you search an app store you'll find some ropey examples, but you'll find some gems too - health apps that are no doubt already helping to provide health benefits and transform behaviour.
For the next 6 weeks, we'll be inviting people to contribute to a conversation about innovation, information and apps for health and care. We want to find the best, most effective existing apps, and the best ideas for apps that haven't been developed yet.
So if you've developed a health app, or if you use a health app that you've found useful, we'd like you to tell us about it. Or if you've had a great idea for an app that you like to see developed, we'd like you to tell us about that too. Or if you'd like to develop something yourself, but you can't get the right data - or the right quality of data - to do it, you can tell us about that too.
Maps and apps runs from today for 6 weeks, and we'll be blogging about it as we go. You can vote for the best ideas as people add them.