I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Category: Risk



Training is your best weapon to guard against fraud – New privacy decision released every health care organization in Ontario needs to read

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Last Friday, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released two new health privacy decisions. Decision 68 reads like a made for tv movie. It’s a doozy.  Hold on to your socks. The facts are complicated. I’ll try to simplify the back story. Back Story A patient complained that her former spouse (a physician) was… Read more »


5 traps you should avoid when a patient complains

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Every health care organization receives complaints. A complaint is any negative feedback received from a patient or family member of a patient about your services. Health care is a complicated service industry and no matter how great the services you deliver are or the quality of your team members, there will always be gaps in… Read more »


Wow. I wasn’t expecting that! Managing volatile situations in health care

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Health care organizations of all shapes and sizes deal with volatile situations involving patients (or clients or residents) and family members or caregivers. Remember this case from last year of the woman at a health clinic who was yelling racist comments about wanting to see a “white doctor” and getting increasingly angry that only “brown doctors with… Read more »


Tracking Privacy Breaches in 2018 – Tools and Tips

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I’ve delivered five team privacy training sessions for health care groups this month all over the province. One thing that has everyone talking is the new requirement to track privacy breaches and report the statistics to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in 2019. Here are some tools and tips to help you better… Read more »


Talking about risk and statutory compliance without scaring or boring your board

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If you are a CEO or ED of a healthcare organization, you need to talk to your board about risk. How do you do it without scaring them or boring them? You make risk real. You explain real situations that have happened to similar organizations. Here are a couple of pointers: Give them a risk architecture:… Read more »


Cyber Risk Management – What’s a Privacy Officer to Do?

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Have you seen this tool from HIROC – the Health Insurance Reciprocal of Canada? Cyber-Guide If you are a Privacy Officer in healthcare – you should read this tool.  It’s great. It’s brand new – November 2017. You may have a vague understanding of words like “ransomware” and “phishing” and “social engineering“.  And maybe you… Read more »


What bothers patients? Why do they complain? What we can learn from the Patient Ombudsman’s First Annual Report in Ontario

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The Patient Ombudsman just released her first report: Patient Ombudsman Annual_Report_Final_EN A year of patient and caregiver conversations and complaints by the numbers: Almost 2000 complaints 1431 complaints received by phone 553 written complaints Complaints were made by: 37% patients 29% substitute decision-makers 23% caregivers 6% family members 5% other Some complaints were rerouted to other… Read more »


What you say matters: Mission, vision and values

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What commitments have you made to your patients, team members and the public? When I work with a healthcare organization through a difficult situation (like a patient complaint or a privacy breach) I always look at their mission, vision and values.  These public statements should guide all decision making through difficult times.  These statements are your guide… Read more »


Stop and think before you post any of the following on social media

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If you are a health care leader, at some point you have wondered about the risks of social media. You know you need to use social media platforms to share your organizational message. And you may want to expand what you are doing though social media in order to stay relevant with your patient population like add… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

June 6, June 12, June 19, August 30

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...

Primary care webinar: “I'm being harassed!”

September 6, 2018, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Kate and lawyer Maria McDonald discuss how to deal with harassment and harassment claims in the workplace.

Full details and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

October 2 through November 6, 2018

Kate’s next 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 here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training

November 13, 2018

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.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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