Resigned ADHA COO Bettina McMahon to step in as interim CEO

Despite her recent resignation from the agency after 10 years.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) Board has announced that Bettina McMahon will step in as interim CEO from 17 February 2020.

The appointment comes after Kelsey resigned from the CEO role earlier this month. He will finish on 17 January 2020.

McMahon will stay on with ADHA despite having recently announced her resignation from the agency after 10 years of service, where she most recently was the COO.

In her role as COO, McMahon was responsible for leading industry, government, and jurisdictional engagement for the agency, driving adoption and delivering digital health programs.

"The Board recognises Ms McMahon's commitment to the important work that the Agency is doing, her knowledge of the organisation and work program, and welcomes her decision to delay her departure until the CEO role is permanently filled," ADHA said in a statement.

"Ms McMahon has advised that she does not intend to apply for the CEO role."

ADHA added that National Health CIO Ronan O'Connor will act as CEO for the period between Kelsey's departure and McMahon's start date, while a formal recruitment process for a new CEO will commence in January 2020.

The agency said it anticipates there will be "strong interest" for the CEO role, which Kelsey has held since he joined ADHA back in 2016, having jumped ship from being Telstra Health's strategy and commercial director. 

During Kelsey's time as CEO, he oversaw the rollout of My Health Record. Last month, the Australian National Audit Office pointed out a number of security issues concerning the My Health Record implementation, including instead of testing against the Australian government's Information Security Manual, it allowed for vendors to sign a form saying they are compliant. Otherwise the audit office said the rollout was "largely effective".

In November, the ADHA's annual report [PDF] revealed there were 38 matters reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) during the year concerning potential unauthorised access, security, or integrity breaches regarding My Health Record.

It was revealed during Senate Estimates in February that a little over 2.5 million Australians had opted out of the government's online medical file. And of those who had a record created automatically for them on 22 February 2019, 30,402 had subsequently cancelled their record as at 14 April 2019.

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