Michelle O’Keefe is an industry executive with NTT DATA. She has worked in digital health in Canada for more than 20 years, and has worked with most provinces and territories and federal health players as a business analyst, organizational change manager, project / program manager, health industry lead, client executive, and industry consulting director. While her passion is in primary care, she has experience working on digital health projects across the continuum of care, and has a vision for how transformational digital health technologies can be.

She is also currently serving as the program advisory committee chair for Algonquin College’s Digital Health Program and sees tremendous value in the role that Digital Health Canada can play in supporting emerging professionals and preparing the next generation of talent for careers in digital health.

In a career spanning more than two decades, Michelle recognizes how far we’ve come, but also how far we still need to go in achieving our collective vision of delivering patient access to quality care. She also brings the perspective of caring for a family member in another province while they go through their own healthcare journey, and the challenges and frustration that comes from the lack of interoperability, continuity, and in many cases, the complete lack of digital documentation while trying to care for and advocate for someone who struggles with health literacy. Michelle believes that Digital Health Canada plays a key role in helping Canadians improve health outcomes through the application of digital health technologies.

Michelle has been a Digital Health Canada member for 15 years.

Why do you want to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors at this point in your career?

Over the years, I have been an active member of Digital Health Canada, and have seen the value DHC provides throughout the stages of my career. Having worked with organizations across Canada, and supporting my team members with their digital health projects, and also in my role as a Program Advisory Committee Chair for Algonquin College’s Digital Health program, I have a unique perspective on how Digital Health Canada can support health services delivery organizations, digital health organizations, and how we can bring together senior and emerging professionals as we move forward with the next wave of digital health innovations and services. I also have the recent experience of being a care provider and advocate for a close family member who is going through their cancer journey, and can see first hand the challenges of trying to stay informed and be the voice for someone who doesn’t have a great deal of health literacy. The lack of availability of information about this person’s care, especially when trying to support them from another province, has been terribly frustrating, and has truly highlighted how far we still have to go in giving patients unfettered access to their personal health information and being able to share that information with their circle of care.

How does your experience align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate?
I have been a digital health professional for 20 years, and have worked alongside most of our provincial, territorial, and federal digital health partners as well as in partnership or collaboration with leading digital health solution and advisory vendors across the continuum of care, from public health, primary care, acute, emergency, long-term care, home care, and more. Working with Algonquin College has been an eye-opening experience about the learning curve for emerging digital health professionals and the challenges they face in entering a market that requires deep knowledge and understanding of the healthcare system. I believe that there is so much more we can do in encouraging innovation, collaboration, and efficiency in the delivery of digital health solutions, and that Digital Health Canada can play a key role in bringing all of us together and keeping us aligned in our objectives.
What unique skills, perspectives and contributions would you bring to the Digital Health Canada Board?

In addition to 20+ years of digital health experience, whether it was implementing quality-based incentive funding models in primary care, working with Health Canada on Pharmacovigilance solutions, working in Infoway-funded projects like client and provider registries, standards governance advisory, and other inter-jurisdictional projects, I have the unique experience of working with or supporting most provinces and territories and federal players. As a health industry lead, I have had the pleasure of recruiting emerging and advanced digital health professionals. As a vendor, I understand the value that we must deliver to our partners to help them succeed and the funding and procurement constraints they work under. As an organizational change management professional, I understand the unique challenges clinicians work under, and the variety of clinical perspectives when it comes to implementing changes. As an advisory committee chair for a digital health academic program, I understand the challenges faced when preparing our professionals for the workplace.

Most importantly, as a daughter of a parent who is going through a serious health journey, I know the importance of not only supporting patients, but also their circle of care in keeping them informed, and the improved patient safety that can come from sharing information across the continuum of care as patients deal with multiple co-morbidities and the need to coordinate care and keep them safe.

Do you or have or have you ever had any direct patient care experience (clinical)?


What segments within the Digital Health Canada community do you feel you will best represent?
  • Executives/CIOs
  • Emerging Professionals
  • Vendors
  • IM/IT Practitioners
  • Leaders
With which Digital Health Canada committees, task groups or activities have you volunteered in past five years?
Over the past five years, most of my time with Digital Health Canada has focused on the eHealth conference, most recently as a committee member for the plenary program. I have also moderated sessions at the eHealth Conference, have been a speaker, and have also served on the committee to select speakers. In the past, as an emerging professional, I also contributed to the development of the HIP resources.
What other board appointments or relevant leadership experiences have you had in the past five years?
For the past several years, I have served as a Program Advisory Committee member for Algonquin College’s Digital Health Program, and am currently the chair of the committee.
Why do you feel Digital Health Canada members should vote for you?
I truly believe in the value that Digital Health Canada brings, not only to industry, but to health services delivery organizations, academic institutions, emerging professionals, and most importantly, to patients and the people who love them. As an organization, I think we can do more to grow our membership, encourage innovation, and bring organizations together to develop a meaningful ecosystem, where we can make the world a better place one bit at a time.
Do you currently hold the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems-Canada (CPHIMS-CA) credential?
I am committed to achieving my CPHIMS-CA.
Educational background
I have an MBA with a joint specialty in community health sciences and supply chain management, and a bachelor of science in computer science. I am also currently preparing to achieve my CPHIMS-CA credential. Additional credentials include project management professional, PROSCI organizational change management professional, and PRINCE2 foundations.