Chief Executive Officer, Australian Digital Health Agency Tim Kelsey resigns (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Digital Health Agency Tim Kelsey resigns (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Head of controversial My Health Record system quits

The man in charge of fitting up nine in ten Australians with a controversial online My Health Record has resigned less than a year after the opt out version of the record was rolled out.

Australian Digital Health Agency CEO Tim Kelsey was associated with the fraught roll out of a similar online health record in the UK.

And his resignation comes before the $1.5 billion Australian digital health record has been accepted by the medical profession or the public.

The government switched the record from an opt in to an opt out system in January this year and was forced to make substantial changes to the legislation after News Corp, doctors and privacy experts exposed major privacy and other flaws.

Before January 31 this year two and a half million Australians opted out of having a My Health Record that will reveal to over 600,000 health practitioners including podiatrists and dentists whether a person has had an abortion, a sexually transmitted disease, a mental illness or is impotent.

 

My Health Record became an opt out system in February. Picture supplied.
My Health Record became an opt out system in February. Picture supplied.

Use of the My Health Record by doctors in Australia has been glacial since it was first rolled out as an opt in system in 2012.

Since the record became an opt out system in February only 278,000 consumers out of 24 million have even accessed their record for the first time.

There are 40,000 specialists in Australia yet only 742 medical specialist organisations, some of which represent multiple individual doctors, have registered to use the record, Senate estimates was told recently.

Last month an audit office report identified key privacy risks with the My Health Record and found fewer than one per cent of people have set a PIN number to protect their record.

News Corp revealed last month the agency had spent $80,000 on legal advice connected to a workplace dispute, it has refused to explain the issue at the heart of the inquiry but said "no conduct requiring disciplinary action was identified."

Announcing Mr Kelsey's resignation the Australian Digital Health Agency Board said under his tenure "the Agency has done much to be proud of, particularly working with stakeholders and the community to provide more than 22 million Australians with an online summary of their key health information through their My Health Record, and to support the introduction of e-prescribing".

The Agency Board will shortly be appointing an interim CEO while a recruitment process is undertaken to find Mr Kelsey's successor, it said in a statement.

In an email to staff Mr Kelsey said:

"I finish at the Agency on January 17, 2020. In February I will be taking up a new role with HIMSS, a global not-for-profit organisation, to assist governments and healthcare providers design and implement digital strategies that will deliver better health for people and those who care for them now, and for future generations. I will remain based in Australia and look forward to staying in touch,".



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