Supermarket chain Tesco has more advanced technology than the NHS, the Health Secretary has said.
Matt Hancock said it is essential that the health service embraces new technology to deliver better performance and help save lives.
Speaking at the launch of a major report on preparing the health workforce for a digital future, he called for improvements in the way patient data is shared and used.
“Right now, Tesco has a more sophisticated and more efficient technological system than the NHS,” he said.
“They know who you are through loyalty cards, where you shop, through store IDs, what you buy, the items scanned at the checkout.
“That wealth of information means they run their operations with just-in-time deliveries, and they shape their offers with a personalised service in order to deliver for you, the customer.
“And they are delivering groceries. The NHS doesn’t have anything like that yet.”
In contrast, he said, the NHS does not know which hospitals patients have visited or which medicines they have been given in the past.
“We don’t even know what we already know,” Mr Hancock said.
“And if Tesco can do this with groceries, by God we need to do it for the life-saving operations of the NHS.”
The independent review into the pending technological health revolution, led by US academic Eric Topol, was launched on Monday.