I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Category: Risk


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 »


Catalyst conversations – raising issues in a way people will listen

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The other day I was a pedestrian on the sidewalk waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Up rode a young guy on a bicycle – on the sidewalk. Honestly, I hadn’t noticed he was on the sidewalk.  But a woman next to me did. And she instantly tore into him. “How dare you… Read more »



Managing Every Day Complaints in Health Care

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I recently surveyed administrative and clinical team members at a family health team and discovered the top 5 issues that lead patients or families to complain where the conversation can get heated: Being told they cannot receive test results over the phone for a family member without the patient’s consent Long wait times Not being able to receive… Read more »


Talking conflict on a FHT board

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Family health teams are interesting creations.  What are they?  Multi-disciplinary teams providing primary care services to communities across Ontario. A new theme for family health teams is moving from physician-led boards to community or mixed governance and skills-based boards. One of the driving reasons for this change is to deal with potential conflicts of interest… Read more »


TedTalks your health care team can watch about privacy

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Are you a Privacy Officer for a health care organization and do you struggle to find interesting videos to keep privacy top of mind for your team? Here are fiveTedTalks that you and your team might find interesting: Why privacy matters – have you heard the phrase “If you aren’t doing anything wrong – you should… Read more »


What’s new in health privacy – March 2017

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Trying to keep up with all that is happening in health privacy these days?  It’s busy! Here are five updates Ontario health care organizations should know: 1. IPC just notified the public about a new snooping prosecution.  A student at a family health team was fined $25,000 for a privacy breach involving 139 patients (she… Read more »


What are the 3 legal questions every clinician should know how to answer?

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If you are a practicing clinician (nurse, doctor, dentist, midwife, psychologist, OT, PT, social worker etc.) there are three legal questions you should be able to answer: What laws apply to you? Who makes treatment and information decisions for your patients? What are your patients’ privacy rights? I recently spoke at the Hamilton Health Sciences “Ethics… Read more »


What does a FHT Board member need to know about risk and statutory compliance?

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Hello?  Are you still there? This is not the most exciting topic in the universe – I know. But, it is really important. Risks There are 6 types of risk you need to be monitoring as Board members of a family health team: Clinical Financial Human Strategic Legal/Regulatory Technological Your Executive Director or Administrator needs… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
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: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

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...

Privacy Officer training
January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

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.

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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Latest Tweets

Webinar recording available! Topics covered: - Health privacy law update - When do children make their own informat… https://t.co/VSlNzPyXiy

about 23 hours ago

The main message: A doctor (or any other health information custodian) should never ignore a patient’s access reque… https://t.co/HW8mrFymnC

12:01 PM Oct 13th

What happens when someone asks for access to recordings? It depends. Here’s a story about what might happen.… https://t.co/kRnDh5IOo2

12:01 PM Oct 12th

contact details

901 King Street West Suite 400 East Tower
Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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