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Lisbeth Nielsen became director general of the Danish Health Authority in 2015. She tells Insights how she never planned to work in healthcare IT, while revealing some of her key learnings over the last 15 years.

Lisbeth Nielsen always knew she wanted to work in healthcare, but as a child growing up in the countryside her ambition was to be a vet.

Instead, in November 2015 she become director general of the Danish Health Data Authority, Sundhedsdatastyrelsen.

Her first move into health technology came when she applied for a job focusing on healthcare improvement for the Association of County Councils.

She tells Insights: “It was more or less a coincidence. By the time I started they had decided to do a major investment in digitalisation and connectivity of patient data and I became one of a few people to advise politicians on how to invest and convince the county’s IT people to co-operate.”

Throughout her varied roles in healthcare IT, which have included managerial positions at IBM and North Zealand hospital, her number one priority has remained the patient.

Nielsen says: “Paving the way for safe, high quality care is what I care the most about. Sometimes the patient and their carers seems far away in my daily work. Working at a hospital, I often took a walk around the wards and waiting areas to remind myself who should be at the centre of my attention.”

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