I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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Democratizing health information

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That sounds lofty doesn’t it?

There is an important movement afoot in health care where recipients of health care services get better, faster, and more consistent access to their own health information.  The effect is democratizing health information.

When we give patients instant access to their information, they are better able to navigate their health journey. We change the power imbalance and we give patients information to make informed choices and expedite their care.

Timely access to information is one of the key ways teams can demonstrate respect for their patients.

Examples of democratizing health information include:

  • LifeLabs now allows individuals to register to receive their own laboratory test results directly so they do not have to wait to hear from their health care provider
  • Patient portals allow individuals to register to an online environment for parts of their health record where they can see their upcoming appointments and share their scans, reports, test results and other health information with whomever they choose
  • Individuals may use their own mobile devices to upload their health records to be able to share their information with their health care providers

This movement is wonderful – and not without negative impact.

With increased knowledge and access to information comes confusion. When individuals get their test results first, if they do not know how to interpret those results they can be distressed by the results without the benefit of in the moment explanation from a care provider.  This negative impact can be mitigated though by patient education and engagement.

In the interim phase as sharing information directly with patients becomes more prevalent there will be growing pains.  But I promise, the growth will be worth it.

I help Privacy Officers across the health sector and across the province of Ontario with their health privacy compliance.  If you have questions about this – give me a call!

If you want to register for my free upcoming Ask Me Anything Privacy Officer webinars – you can sign up for one or all of them by clicking on the dates below:

January 9 – 12 noon

February 6 – 9am

March 6 – 4pm

If you are ready to join my Privacy Officer training sign up here for course starting April 2019 or sign up for the next Advanced Privacy Officer training on June 18, 2019.


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Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced 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.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

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Annual membership 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our November program will address harassment and in December we discuss privacy.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
November 1, 4, 10, 11, 12, 22, 24 December 3, 13

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

NEW! Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course - video course online

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

We focus on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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