I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Ontario Health Teams Wave 1: Privacy and culture shift supports during your transition

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You and your community have signed up to be a Wave 1 Ontario Health Team.

Does it feel like you are on a roller coaster?

You signed up. You’ve strapped yourself into the seat.

You’ve turned the first corner and you hear the “kk-chug”. You start the steep, jerky climb.

up. up. up.

You are doing the hard work now. Filling in forms.  Identifying your “readiness”.  Assessing cohesiveness in your community.  Attending meetings with 40 other community leaders. Vocalizing your team’s strengths. Sharing the points of vulnerability in transitions of care.

up. up. up.

But you are also starting to think… Huh.

What is going to happen to our patients? Are they going to fall through the cracks? is this going to result in actual improvements for them?

up. up. up.

What about my team?  Is our model understood by the other partners? Are they going to see what we do as valuable?

up. up. up.

Am I going to have a job at the end of this? Have I just signed up to make myself redundant?

whoa. we are getting higher now.

The healthcare system is undergoing a massive reorganization.

Just like the first time on a roller coaster, it’s hard to know whether the ride is going to be exhilarating or terrifying.

One of the issues that is going to arise for you in this journey to becoming an OHT is privacy.

Here are some privacy considerations you and your OHT community partners need to discuss:

  1. Will we need to (or want to) apply to become a single health information custodian under the Personal Health Information Protection Act?
  2. What electronic health information systems are we all using? do those integrate? can we using Connecting Ontario viewers to assist us with health information integration?
  3. What data sharing and eHR access agreements do we need in the short term and long term?
  4. What opportunities arise for us to integrate privacy policies and training?
  5. What special privacy services do we not want to lose?
  6. If the OHT is subject to freedom of information legislation, FIPPA, what does that mean for the partners who have not been subject to it to date?

As you are inching your way up up up the Wave 1 OHT roller coaster, I’d love to be involved in your strategy for how to make privacy an enabler of health services and not an impediment to integration.

I offer:

  1. Strategy meetings with community partners to understand privacy readiness, worries and opportunities
  2. Privacy training across the healthcare system – I can speak to what privacy sounds like in primary care, hospitals, palliative care, long-term care, mental health centres, public health, rehabilitation, children’s services, elder care, municipal services, supportive housing, dental, private practice, community care, teaching environments, and home care.  I can help your teams understand the other services your OHT will offer in the integrated entity
  3. Freedom of information training – those of you new to freedom of information need to learn about public rights of access to your records, proactive disclosure opportunities, minute-taking, email etiquette, record retention, search parameters
  4. Privacy policy integration
  5. A Privacy Officer community of more than 300 participants across the province and across the healthcare service spectrum who ask questions of me and each other in a private forum

I know this is a time of uncertainty.

We can do this.  We are the trust builders.

Together we will learn how to take this uncertainty and improve the health system for our patients, their caregivers, our teams and our communities.

Join me for my free live Ask Me Anything about Health Privacy webinars on the first Wednesday of every month from 10-11am.  In June I’m going to talk about privacy in transition to the new healthcare system. In May 2019 I talked about the topic of kids and privacy.  If you missed it, you can now purchase the replay where you can watch the video, download the transcript and the slides. Go to the Kate Dewhirst Shop for more information and to gain access.  


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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

November 5, 11, 18, 25 & December 2, 2019

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

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