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

April 15, May 3, June 7, 13, 20 & 25

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...

Speaking event

April 10, 2019

At Osgoode Hall

Kate speaks at the Osgoode Health Law Certificate workshop on privacy for health care organizations. More details...

Primary care webinars: Contracts & Communications

April 11 and May 2, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April webinar is on employee contracts, and in May our title is communication faux pas.

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...

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April 3, 2019 12 noon - 1 pm and
May 1, 2019 9 - 10 am

Free webinar - advance registration needed

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Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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