Internet entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox will develop proposals to improve take-up of digital innovations in health, the health secretary has said.

In a speech at the King’s Fund this morning, Jeremy Hunt said the health service needs to use technology to enact a “radical permanent shift in power towards patients."

“If we are to embrace the potential for technology to shift power to patients, we need patients to be willing and able to harness that technology,” he said.

“Digital inclusion is as vital in healthcare as everywhere else – not least because some of the greatest impacts of new technology in health is with the most vulnerable patients.

“I have therefore asked Martha Lane-Fox to develop some practical proposals for the NHS National Information Board before the end of the year as to how we can increase take-up of new digital innovations in health by those who will benefit from them the most.”

Lane Fox was the UK Digital Champion from June 2010 until November 2013. She co-founded travel and leisure website and was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013.

In response to the news this morning she tweeted: “Looking forward to it – massive gains for vulnerable patients + frontline staff I think”.

Hunt, who was re-appointed to the health secretary post following the general election in May, claimed that the speech on the future of the NHS was "his most important yet."

He told the King's Fund that the health service was facing a "reformation moment", and needed to become more human and more transparent.

He also followed up on weekend newspaper reports that he wanted to see a shift towards a seven day a week health service by confirming that he would change the consultant contract to stop doctors opting out of weekend working.

This put him on an immediate collision course with the British Medical Association, which described the plans as a "wholesale attack on doctors." However, the bulk of his speech focused on safety and on using technology to support what he called "intelligent transparency."

“Within the next five years our electronic health records will be available seamlessly in every care setting,” he said. “You will be able to access them, share them, mark preferences, and shape the care that you want around them.

“New medical devices will mean an ambulance arrives to pick us up not after a heart attack but before it – as they receive a signal sent from a mobile phone."

The health secretary said patients will be able to take control of their own health care by monitoring things like heart rates and blood pressure and sharing these readings with their doctor.  

He also said that from next year, as part of the new e-Referral Service, which has replaced Choose and Book, all GPs will be asked to tell patients not just which hospitals they can be referred to, but the relevant Care Quality Commission rating and waiting time.

“Because those ratings now include patient experience, safety and quality of care, patients will for the first time be able to make a truly informed choice about which local service is best for them,” he said.

Hunt described this as part of the government’s commitment to intelligent transparency, which has involved publishing ratings of health providers including hospitals, care homes and GP practices.

“Intelligent transparency creates intelligent patients with healthier outcomes. Get this right and it is no exaggeration to say that the impact will be as profound for humanity in the next decade as the internet has been in the last,” he said.