The Health and Social Care information Centre is being renamed NHS Digital and is to have a new chair, Noel Gordon.

The name change was announced by life sciences minister George Freeman at e-Health Week in London today.

He called it a "change in title and focus" that would reflect how the organisation will "harness technology and information for modern health care."

Freeman said that research by the Department of Health had shown that the old HSCIC name was not well understood.

At the National Information Board meeting that ran alongside the show, Andy Williams, the chief executive of NHS Digital, said the new name had been extensively tested.

“People, particularly the younger age group, they really ‘got’ what it is we want to do,” he said.

The HSCIC was set up following former health secretary Andrew Lansley’s reforms of the health service, which separated NHS policy, commissioning and delivery.

It took over some of the functions of the infrastructure and contracting functions of NHS Connecting for Health and the data collection, analysis and publication responsibilities of the NHS Information Centre.

For the past three years, the organisation has been chaired by Kingsley Manning, who stood down in February and will leave on 31 May.

The new chair, Noel Gordon, is a non-executive director of NHS England, who has been chair of its specialised services commissioning committee.

His background lies in economics, and he worked at Accenture for 16 years, in his most senior role as global managing director of the Banking Industry Practice.

Freeman and Williams stressed his interest in business transformation and the role of big data, analytics and mobile and digital technologies.

Freeman announced the name change in a speech that covered the government's ambitions for NHS technology.

Picking up on comments originally made at Digital Health’s first NHS IT Leadership summit, he likened the project to digitise the NHS to Crossrail and HS2 – massively ambitious infrastructure projects that would change the face of the country.

He said: "I think this is a project of similar and extraordinary opportunity and excitement. I do not think we have communicated that to patients and we have not yet delivered into patients hands the tools that will drive it forward."

He cited achievements including more than 55 million patients now having a Summary Care Record, with 73% of ambulances and 63% of emergency department now accessing these records.

He said: "My major priority is to shift the agenda from how do we digitise the back office to giving some tangible benefits to patients."

The HSCIC said plans are underway to implement the new name, strap-line and visual identity later in the summer.