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


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 »


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 »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our December program will address harassment in the workplace.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
November 11, 12, 13, 18, 24, 25, 26, December 4 7

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

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

Free Part X CYFSA privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the second Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy designate 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.

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate training
November 10 and 17

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

This course focuses on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

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...

Advanced Health Privacy Officer training
June 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online

This course focuses on taking theory into practice and we do real life scenarios to build your Privacy Officer skills.
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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