About 50,000 clinicians are expected to learn how to code over the next few years, according to NHS England's director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey.
Kelsey said that a new initiative called Code4Health will launch this autumn in which tens of thousands of people providing and receiving healthcare will be offered training to write basic computer code, the BMJ reports.
The government hopes that healthcare professionals will be able to use these skills to design simple prototypes of smartphone apps or system tools that they think could make the NHS work better.
"Over the next couple of years, I expect something like 50,000 clinicians to have gone through Code4Health," said Kelsey, who was previously the Cabinet Office's executive director of transparency and open data.
Code4Health is part of the official NHS information technology strategy and was launched by Kelsey in October last year. It is modelled on the US not-for-profit organisation Code for America, which was created to teach local government workers how to create apps and IT services using open source data.
Kelsey is hoping that the initiative will help to encourage innovation within the NHS. Details of training and eligibility criteria have yet to be confirmed.
NHS England had recently issued a tender worth between £200,000 and £2m to train 100,000 people in basic online skills, in its bid to boost health literacy.
The plan comes under NHS England's commitment in 2013/14 and 2015/16 to reduce inequalities.