The NHS must make more use of email and the internet to communicate with patients, according to the King's Fund health think tank.
Its report, "Technology In The NHS", says that GP appointments, routine test results, medical records or even online consultations would all benefit.
It points out that these technologies are routinely used in other organisations, and that people are now accustomed to using them in their daily lives.
The King's Fund's Director of Policy, Anna Dixon, said: "There are information technologies in most homes and pockets that could transform health care and the way it is delivered.
"These are not futuristic, these are technologies we use day to day. But when it comes to our health care, patients aren't even able to use basic technologies - whether its using email to book GP appointments or using the internet to view medical records online.
"This has to change. Patients of the future will demand the use of technologies that make it much easier and more convenient for them to receive the care and treatment they need."
The report recommends targeting patients most likely to embrace new technologies initially, while supporting those who are less IT-literate with more conventional methods.