Andrew Lansley has called upon health professionals to provide ideas for new 'health apps' to put patients more in control of their care.
The Department of Health said the applications, to be used with smartphones or tablet computers, should relate to one of five themes: personalisation and choice of care and support; better health and care outcomes; autonomy and accountability; improving public health and improving long-term care and support.
"We want to give people better access to information that will put them in control of their health and help make informed choices about their healthcare," said Mr Lansley.
"Over the next six weeks, we want to hear from patients, health professionals and budding app developers on their ideal new app. This is a unique opportunity for the NHS and those who develop apps to not only showcase their work but bring to life new ideas and realise true innovation in healthcare."
The health secretary cited the 'Choosing Well' app as an existing example of what could be done. The app, developed by NHS Yorkshire and Humber, enables people to search for their nearest NHS services.
Health professionals have six weeks to respond with their ideas before they are judged by a panel including Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, Dr Shaibal Roy, Investigator at the National Institute for Health Research and Jennie Ritchie-Campbell, Director of Cancer Services Innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support.
A group of apps will then be showcased at an event during the autumn.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I believe all patients with full mental capacity and understanding should be made responsible for their own health care access. Many are availing themselves of the internet services and this can include healthcare services too. Each patient over a specific age could be given a unique ID number for this purpose and those children under this age their parent or guardian made responsible for accessing the services on their behalf" – V Henry, London
"I'm keen to develop an app that is free to download and unique to our surgery. The app will have access to online booking, health info, useful numbers eg, STI clinic numbers and also 'ask the team a question' forum to allow anonymous questions and answers. Funding is an issue and getting in touch with the right people even more difficult. I believe we're moving very quickly in terms of IT management and we should embrace this change" – Dr KJ Patel, Retford