I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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6 year anniversary – reviewing my Vivid Vision

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This week is our 6th anniversary as Kate Dewhirst Health Law.

6 years!

When I started this business, I had a 1 year old and a 3 year old. Those were intense times of parenting.

I had 17 years’ experience as a lawyer. I had been an employee in a law firm and a hospital.  I had run my own solo practice and I had been a partner in a law firm.

I look back on those first months of starting out on my own again and they were emotionally hard and uncertain.  But, I had a clear vision of what I wanted and needed in my life and business.

Applying a concept I learned from Cameron Herold,  6 years ago I created a Vivid Vision for my business and my life.  I wrote out my vision in elaborate detail under the categories of:

  • Philosophy
  • Team
  • Clients
  • Products
  • Financial
  • Workspace
  • IT
  • Marketing and media
  • Personal

I took the time to consider how I would feel, what the office would look like physically, who would work with me, and who I would serve.  That Vivid Vision has been a roadmap for my growth.

6 years later, the reality is not exactly what I envisioned – but the intentions have been realized in beautiful ways.

I now operate 2 businesses:

Kate Dewhirst Health Law is a law firm serving Ontario health care organizations. We help build a trustworthy health system.  Our focus is risk management including privacy, conflict management, and understanding the laws that apply to health care providers.  In the last few years we have branched out to serve Ontario Health Teams. In this work, we have found our sweet spot. We help the whole health system understand each other to work together for better experiences and outcomes for patients. The pandemic has pushed the health care system to the brink. We’ve been there with our clients through the storms – through the crashing seemingly never-ending waves of change.

Something Orange Training Inc. is our training company that we launched last year. We now have 3 primary instructors in addition to guest instructors. We focus on storytelling, practical instructions and artifacts to help health care leaders, clinicians and administrative staff understand the rules that apply to them so they can feel more confident. This work gives me the creative playground I have always sought in my work.

As I reflect on the last 6 years, I am most proud of the team we have built and my connectivity with my family.

Sarah Virani joined me this year as Senior Legal Counsel and Instructor.  Sarah is a rising star health leader. She is wise and skilled in the law. She is also approachable and reassuring for our clients. She simplifies her advice so it is understandable and digestible.  She is a dynamic and empathetic speaker.  We are having fun working together and developing new content.

Lindsay Coombs just joined a few weeks ago as one of our two Office Magicians.  Lindsay is from my home town. We share a lot of the same experiences and values.  She trained as a Paralegal and Medical Office Administrator – so her dual passions of health and law and perfect for our team.

Sarah and Lindsay joined our other thoughtful, protective, fun and unique team members: Megan Ferrier, Senior Legal Advisor and Melissa Martin, Office Magician and Alec Myers, Head of Scrutiny. Looking at this team fills me with joy.  I knew I would have companionship in my work journey.  I knew my beliefs about Unique Ability teamwork learned from Strategic Coach would set me free.  The team part of my Vivid Vision has come to life in ways I longed for.

My kids are now 7 and 9.  I’m in the “golden years” of parenting.  They literally just came upstairs to tell me this joke: What happened when the skunk came to court? The judge declared “odour in the court”! followed by uproarious laughter.  Parenting is much easier, for now …

When I look at my Vivid Vision from 6 years ago, I see that I committed to being a present parent. Seems trite – but in reality is not an easy commitment for a lawyer.  I continue to be humbled in my parenting journey. It’s a bumpy road.  But if I look at these years with kind eyes, I am proud of the changes I made to be present with my kids and in my marriage.  It’s not glamorous. It’s not easily measured. There is a lot of room for improvement. But there is also a tangible peace that comes looking at my progress in family life.

I can also acknowledge that the last 2 and a half years were brutal emotionally and physically.  The pandemic brought me to my knees.  Social isolation from my team, friends and family, clients and colleagues, spiritual community and school communities did not serve me well.  I am still working my way back from the exhaustion that came and is still coming from the sheer volume and density of work in health care.

It has been hard.  Really hard.

I have not been doing the activities that I know support my resilience in times of pressure.  I was basically “the control group” of what not to do.  When I look at my Vivid Vision from 6 years ago – I committed to a healthy balanced life that I did not live over the last few years.  I am not as “strong, flexible and energetic” as predicted.

But, looking at that Vivid Vision gives me something to hold onto:  I know how to fuel my soul and body.  I know what it feels like to be strong, flexible and energetic.  I know the activities that feed my confidence and make me whole.  I now recommit to those activities in big and small ways.

I love anniversaries for the opportunity to reflect and take stock.

Thank you to all of you – clients and colleagues – who are following my journey.  Thank you for your encouragement through these years.

 

 


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Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

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.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
October 24, 31, November 7, 14, 21, 28 2022 Coming Soon: Spring 2023 Next Program

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

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...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our May program will address progressive discipline and in September we discuss mandatory training for new employees and October we discuss ethical decision making in primary care.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
August 3, September 7, 23

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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