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)

Can your patients trust you in the age of electronic privacy scandals?

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In the last few years, the public has heard A LOT of scary things about electronic privacy scandals.

In 2017, Equifax admitted their electronic records were compromised leaving millions of users’ financial information exposed.

In May 2017, the WannaCry Ransomware attack negatively impacted 19,000 healthcare appointments across the United Kingdom which response cost the NHS over £92 million. That cyber attack had a local impact at an Ontario hospital

In early 2018, Facebook users around the world were disturbed to find out their data may have been mined by a company called Cambridge Analytica. Seemingly benign answers to personality quizzes and content posted to Facebook accounts may have been utilized to target individuals to sway elections and public opinion. 

In May 2018, two of Canada’s largest banks were hacked and client data was stolen.

June 2018 brought the story of a Ontario health sector hack of home care records held for ransom

In November 2018, Canada Post admitted a privacy breach involving information of online cannabis consumers.

So it may not come as a surprise to you that there are a few people who are not exactly gung-ho about the miracle of electronic health records and the movement toward a Provincial integrated electronic health record for Ontario.

The scary context is important to remember.

Moving toward a Provincial health information system is essential. It’s vital to continuity of care and improving the quality of our healthcare service and experience. But it can also be disconcerting to people who care  about privacy and who are rightfully nervous about the potential risks associated with integration.

Remember these people when you are communicating the wonders of integrated health information.  Remember to take privacy seriously.  Remember to survey your patients and caregivers to hear about what excites and worries them about this new world.  Remember to focus on delivering messages that reassure and explain your safeguards. This effort will help you get the buy-in you need from the people you serve.  

Attention Privacy Officers …

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

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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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our January program will address an employment law update for health leaders.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

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 training
April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24 2021

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...

Osgoode Privacy and Information Management Course
Jan 18, 25, Feb 1, 8, 16,

Advanced privacy learning opportunity for lawyers, privacy officers and health leaders

Learn more about Canadian health privacy and information management More Details...

Advanced Health Privacy Officer training
June 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online

This course focuses on taking theory into practice and we do real life scenarios to build your Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
January 7, 8, 13, 26, 27, 29

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Schools, Police departments

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

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course

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

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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Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

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