Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said a review by international digital health guru Robert Wachter on how the NHS can become a world leading digital health system will be as pivotal to the NHS as Don Berwick’s review on patient safety.

Speaking at the HSJ annual lecture, the health secretary said that Professor Wachter would “conduct a review for the NHS on the critical lessons we need to get right as we move to a digital future”.

“He will guide and inspire us as Professor Don Berwick did on safety,” Mr Hunt said.

Professor Wachter works at the University of California San Francisco, and is the author of the book The Digital Doctor.

He has written on how moving to digital healthcare is an “adaptive” change requiring behavioural change, rather than just a “technical” transformation requiring a new process.

Mr Hunt said the NHS needed to be “humble” as well as “ambitious” in its approach to technology, to ensure that technology did not interfere with “the relationship between doctor and patient”.

He said there were four “elephant traps” to the adoption of technology by health systems, and that the NHS would get advice from Professor Wachter as a “world expert on the promise and pitfalls of new IT systems”.

Professor Wachter’s review is expected next summer.