Senior digital health bureaucrat resigns to join former boss

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday August 7, 2020

people coming in and out of a revolving door
Out with some, in with others. (bluraz/Adobe)

Another senior public servant has resigned from the Australian Digital Health Agency.

National health chief information officer Ronan O’Connor has left the agency to take on a role at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society — the same not-for-profit organisation that Tim Kelsey joined after departing his role as ADHA CEO late last year.

Kelsey and O’Connor worked together at the  United Kingdom’s National Health Service before they were appointed to the ADHA in 2016 and 2017, respectively. At their new workplace, O’Connor will take on the role of vice president, analytics international, while Kelsey is senior vice president, analytics international, according to iTnews.

O’Connor reportedly hopes to move back to the UK in 2021.

At the ADHA, O’Connor led the implementation of the opt-out model for the My Health Record system. Australians previously had to opt-in to receive an electronic health record, which left the system experiencing extremely low engagement rates. ADHA statistics show that there were 22.77 million My Health Records in existence at June 2020.

Earlier this year, O’Connor revealed the agency had detected an attempted “hack” on the external perimeter of the My Health Record System, and another on a state healthcare facility. However, no sensitive information was compromised.

Chief medical adviser Meredith Makeham recently left the ADHA to join the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Medicine and Health, as an associate dean of community and primary healthcare. Interim ADHA CEO Bettina McMahon plans to leave the agency when a permanent CEO is announced, despite handing in her resignation in November last year.

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