Smartphone check-ups could reduce pressure on GPs, under Technology Enabled Care programme.
The NHS has called on stakeholders to embrace a future where smartphones could monitor your health, reducing the need for GP check-ups.
The director of NHS England, Professor Bruce Keogh, wrote this week to 250 key stakeholders to urge them to support its Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) scheme.
He has further outlined plans for the programme, which the NHS hopes will transform healthcare by empowering patients and improving treatment.
He said: "Imagine the degree of personal control that could be afforded by a smartphone configured for medical applications, coupled with wearable biosensors and capable of sensing, analysing and displaying vital signs and alerting you and your clinicians to significant changes or deterioration wherever you are, rather than through check-ups at a hospital or GP practice.
"Any escalation in a condition could be identified and addressed in a timely and proactive way. It would lead to better health outcomes while being more convenient for the patient, their carer and their clinician."
His letter added that Britain’s ageing population would increase pressure on the public health service, but pointed to smartphones and other digital health monitoring devices as a way to let people manage their own healthcare.
"This is the future of healthcare," he wrote. "Twenty years from now, we will use technology to access our health services as a matter of course. That future is fast approaching as technologies constantly evolve, adapt and improve."
This echoes the EU’s mHealth project, which seeks to survey how people use their phones to monitor their wellbeing via apps.
The TECS programme is the successor to NHS England’s 3millionlives scheme, focused on getting three million people to use telehealth services by 2017.
After it was scrapped in April 2013, the TECS programme was born and re-focused the NHS on meeting healthcare and social care workers’ demands for help in using technology to develop healthcare tools.
Sir Bruce wrote: "Our ambition is to create the right commissioning environment that supports and encourages the innovative use of technology to improve health outcomes, empower patients, and deliver more cost-effective services as part of a modern model of integrated care."
The NHS will release an online toolkit for the TECS programme in the autumn, aimed at helping healthcare workers make the most out of future TECS initiatives.