I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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PHIPA being changed to acknowledge Ontario Health Teams!!!

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Oh happy day!

I’ll admit, I have been moping around for awhile. All the usual reasons why – but I’ve been moping.

TODAY I WAS EXCITED!

Our Personal Health Information Protection Act is going to be amended to acknowledge the role of Ontario Health Teams.

See Schedule 4 of Bill 106 or read on!

Ontario Health Teams were created in 2019 as the next generation vehicle of coordinating health care in a geographic region.  Groups of health care providers in a region are given an opportunity to apply to the government for the title “Ontario Health Team”. To date, the title has come with some extra money and resources to assist the groups to collaborate.

The hang up for OHTs (pronounced “oats”) has been that while they want to share patient data for purposes like program planning, system improvement, error management and quality improvement – the law did not permit that without obtaining the consent of patients.

Today I read that the regulations under PHIPA will be changed to allow OHTs to collect, use and disclose personal health information for to be named purposes related to the OHT.

These are exciting times.

I help OHTs understand how they are already allowed to share information to provide direct care services to shared patients. How to improve documentation, improve intake practices and proactively notify each other about patient developments.

Next, OHTs will be able to see how patients cross between organizations – how they move, what they need and how the OHT can improve the outcomes and experiences during those transitions.

The details of the proposed changes to the regulations will come. The Bill has not yet passed.  But this is a glimmer of hope that we will be able to move along the path to more integrated clinical care in Ontario – and I’m all for it.


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Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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