Tim Kelsey will step down from the role of CEO of the Australian Digital Health Agency in January. Kelsey led the ADHA since 2016 and presided over the introduction of the controversial $1.5 billion My Health Record system.

ADHA CEO Tim Kelsey will leave the role in January. Image: digitalhealth.gov.au

The ADHA board will appoint an interim CEO while a recruitment process is undertaken to find Kelsey’s successor.

“The Board is engaging with the Agency to ensure staff are supported during this time of change and will be taking all appropriate steps to ensure the ongoing management of the Agency’s business,” an ADHA statement released today said.

Kelsey joined the ADHA after a brief stint as director at Telstra health in 2016. Prior to that he was the national director for patients and information at NHS England and has also worked as a McKinsey and Company expert.

My Health Discord

While CEO of the ADHA Kelsey oversaw the rollout of My Health Record, a national ehealth system which came under scrutiny when it switched to an opt-out model this year, a change which led to the creation of a digital health record of 90 per cent of Australians.

When Kelsey launched the opt out switch in 2018 he argued there was no “conspiracy” to collect patient information (ehealth systems typically require a critical mass of patients for much of their benefit) and defended the system’s security and privacy provisions.

But criticism grew and after further scrutiny, the model was changed several times to improve privacy and security. After the opt-out was delayed several times, My Health Record fully launched this year.

The opt-out switch led to a surge in privacy complaints and an audit of the system last month revealed several privacy and cybersecurity risks but deemed the launch “largely effective” overall.

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