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: February 2019


Health Privacy Update: IPC has new guidelines on avoiding abandoned health records

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released new guidelines “Avoiding Abandoned Health Records: Guidance for Health Information Custodians Changing Practice“. The guidelines cover: Who is the custodian when there is a change of practice? What obligations do custodians have when changing practice? Avoiding abandoned records What to do if you discover abandoned records… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: What happens if you lose a patient record?

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has issued a new health privacy Decision 86. A woman contacted a hospital to have access to her deceased son’s health records.   The hospital provided part of the record but notified the requester that part of the paper record was missing. The requester made a complaint to the… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: A new correction decision of the IPC

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just issued Decision 85 – which is a new correction case. A hospital received a correction request from the daughter of a deceased patient relating to 4 pages including: physician orders, progress notes, medication administration record and Critical Care Response Team Consultation Record. The complainant believed her mother’s… Read more »




Health Privacy Update: New access decision of the IPC

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just issued decision 84, which is a new access decision. Bottom Line: This decision is consistent with other decisions of the IPC and does not require a change to practice. In this case, a patient of a hospital was concerned that hospital staff were inappropriately viewing her record…. Read more »


Health Privacy Update: Parents do not have a right of access to the information about them in their children’s health records

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Stay with me folks – it’s going to get bumpy. There are some important nuances to understand my headline and this case. Here’s the new health privacy decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario #83. This case echoes questions I am asked every week in my practice. It is important reading for any… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: Be very careful when speaking with the media about patients

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We know this intuitively – but it bears repeating. Health care organizations should be very careful when speaking with the media about specific patient cases. There is a new Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) health privacy decision directly on this topic. Decision 82 Background: A patient of a hospital died. The family members… Read more »


Doctors read Humboldt Broncos’ health records: privacy breaches undermine public trust

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In April 2018, Canadians came together from coast to coast to coast to grieve and support each other when we learned a bus was hit in Saskatchewan tragically killing 16 young hockey players and seriously injuring many of their teammates. The Humboldt Broncos story made international news and reminded us all of the fragility of… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: new correction request decision of the IPC

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In health privacy decision 81 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, a hospital was asked to make a correction to a discharge summary. The complainant wanted certain words written into the discharge summary “I am going home into the care of my parents’ because I live in [their] house” to reflect what he… Read more »

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

September 17, September 24, October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

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

Speaking event

October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Contracts & Communications

September 5 and October 3, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September webinar is about understanding contracts you may be asked to sign, and in Octber our title is Managing incapacity in the workplace.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies.More details ...

Advanced Privacy Officer training

December 10, 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!

August 7 and September 4, 2019, 10-11am EST

Free webinars - 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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