I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Month: April 2018


Hmmmm. If your head tilts when you read a new email – don’t open it!

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Ransomware and phishing attacks are rampant in health care. Ever get an email from a bank you don’t use saying your account has been compromised? Ever get a message from a company with whom you do business saying “Click on this link to update your profile”? But you think to yourself, hmmmm, that’s weird, I… Read more »


Ever wonder what patient information you are supposed to share with insurance companies?

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One of the top 5 questions I get asked when I do privacy training in primary care offices is: What patient information am I supposed to share with an insurance company? It’s an every day reality that health care organizations receive release of information forms to send insurance companies information about patients.  The queries can… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: New health privacy decision 71

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released a new decision under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. In Decision 71,  a hospital received a correction request relating to four records (six pages) of information documented in the emergency room. The information was used by physicians to report the patient to the Ministry of Transportation… Read more »


Watch departing employees – what happens if they have health records at home?

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Decision 69 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario was just released. A former hospital employee (registered health professional who was employed as a Research Coordinator) removed 15 health records, 36 research files and 2 data collection sheets from the hospital’s premises without authorization. The hospital notified police – although the hospital did not… Read more »


Training is your best weapon to guard against fraud – New privacy decision released every health care organization in Ontario needs to read

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Last Friday, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released two new health privacy decisions. Decision 68 reads like a made for tv movie. It’s a doozy.  Hold on to your socks. The facts are complicated. I’ll try to simplify the back story. Back Story A patient complained that her former spouse (a physician) was… Read more »


Micro laughs

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Are you having any fun? I downloaded the Starbucks app this morning and ordered my coffee and egg bites to go.  Easy. When I got to the store I announced “Hi. This is my first time. I’m so excited.”  The 4 baristas shouted in unison “hooray!”  We all laughed. (Yes, I realize I’m a bit… Read more »


What if she really doesn’t want to handle the truth? Nuanced discussion of how to inform patients of a terminal diagnosis

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This article in the Guardian, Should a doctor always disclose a terminal illness?, had me hopping at the title. Should a doctor always disclose a terminal illness? Absolutely yes.  Every time. Then I read the article.  It gave me pause. Doctors and other health care providers must be truthful and forthcoming.  But, it gave me pause… Read more »

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

November 14, 16, 29 & 30 and December 3, 11, 12, 13 & 19

For Primary Care clinics and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. more details...

Building healthy habits

November 26, 2018

Legal coaching at a Toronto law firm.

A private coaching session

Primary care webinar: Shared services agreements

December 6, 2018, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Pitfalls that primary care organizations need to look out for when agreeing to provide care in collaboration with other healthcare organizations.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

April 30 through June 4, 2019

Kate’s specialist training course for Privacy Officers in health organizations.

Open to all health Privacy Officers, as well as those hoping to become Privacy Officers. Full details and registration for Privacy Officer training next spring here...

Advanced Privacy Officer training

June 18, 2019

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!

December 5, 2018 4-5pm and January 9, 2019 12noon-1pm

Free webinar - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experience privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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contact details

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Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557