The NHS must make more use of technology like email and the internet to improve the way it communicates with patients, experts say.
The King's Fund think tank said the NHS has been slow to utilise these kinds of technologies, which are routinely used in other organisations.
Its report, Technology In The NHS, outlines how patients could benefit in areas such as booking GP appointments, receiving routine test results, viewing medical records or even having online consultations.
Coauthor Alasdair Liddell said: "Consumers are accustomed to using technology in their daily lives. Yet new technologies, and even basic ones, are not embedded in the health service."
The report sets out proposals for the next decade which envisage technology transforming the way patients interact with clinicians.
These propose the use of email to communicate with doctors and even video-conferencing for medical consultations and "virtual" visiting by friends and family.
The King's Fund's director of policy, Anna Dixon, said: "There are information technologies in most homes and pockets that could transform health care and the way it is delivered."
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