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)

What does a Privacy Officer do in a health care organization?

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I train Privacy Officers to understand their role. So, what does a Privacy Officer do for a health care organization? In Ontario, every health care organization must have a “contact person” to do the following five tasks: Facilitate compliance with the health privacy law, PHIPA Ensure that everyone who works for the organization is informed… Read more »




Health Privacy Update – August 2017

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has just released two new correction request decisions – 46 and 47 (dated June 2017 but released the last week of July).  Decision 45 has not yet been released. Bottom Line: These decisions do not change your practice. So long as you respond to correction requests (as you… Read more »


What is health law?

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When asked what I do, I say “I’m a health lawyer”.  Which always gets a head tilt response: What’s that? Q: Does that mean you sue doctors? A: Nope Q: Oh, so you sue hospitals? A: Nope Then they say – Ok. I don’t get it. I explain … I work for hospitals and doctors’ offices and… Read more »


Health Privacy Update – July 2017

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Mandatory reporting by health information custodians in Ontario to the IPC will now come into effect October 1, 2017 The new regulations requiring the mandatory reporting of privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario will come into effect October 1st (not July 1st as we originally expected). The link to the new… Read more »


Legal Innovation – Unlocking your creativity

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The pressure to “innovate” is everywhere. Even though the practice of law is not exactly renowned for being cutting edge, as lawyers we aspire to create new ways of practice that improve the outcomes for our clients, increase our revenues, free us up for fun, add sex-appeal to our party introduction “I’m a lawyer”, and generally… 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

Team Privacy Training Events

September 17, September 24, 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: Contracts & Communications

September 5 and October 3, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September webinar is about understanding contracts you may be asked to sign, and in Octber our title is Managing incapacity in the workplace.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series 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 ...

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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!

August 7 and September 4, 2019, 10-11am EST

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experience 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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