I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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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. The hospital conducted an audit and then additional audits on request. The patient asked for the results of the audit and asked for a “lockbox” for her record. The hospital provided the patient with a copy of the audit results and implemented the lockbox directive. The patient complained to the IPC.

The IPC found the hospital acted in accordance with the privacy legislation. The hospital responded to the access request for copies of the audit results. The complainant’s health information was used appropriately by the hospital and was not improperly disclosed. The complaint was dismissed.

Don’t let my summary fool you. This was a complicated case with a comprehensive decision – 22 pages. That’s significant since most IPC decisions are not half as long. The IPC described in detail the results of the audits and the analysis of why hospital staff were entitled to view or use the records. This case provides a good overview of the rights of access and the steps necessary to respond to access requests.


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Team Privacy Training Events
February 12, 19, 26, 27, Mar 2, 9, 11, 24, 27

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

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

Speaking event March 25, 2020

Osgoode Professional Development – Health Law Certificate

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

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our March webinar is on questions to ask your insurer and the April program is on changes to pregnant employees' positions.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

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 Health Privacy 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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
March 4 (cancelled) but back April 1

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.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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