Kate Dewhirst

Kate Dewhirst
FIRM:
Kate Dewhirst Health Law
POSITION:
Principal
AREAS OF PRACTICE:
Health, Privacy

Founder of Kate Dewhirst Health Law and Kate Dewhirst Coaching Lawyers in Toronto, Kate Dewhirst’s practice focuses on privacy and access to information, physician relationships with hospitals, family health teams, and risk management/difficult clinical scenarios.

Ms. Dewhirst received her LLB, MHSA, Law, Health Administration from Dalhousie University in 1999 and B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies in 1994 from York University.

She consults to a wide range of health-care organizations on issues dealing with governance and bylaws; statutory compliance; contracts; freedom of information, confidentiality and health records; clinical policy; physician privileges (including disruptive physician management); regulation of health professionals; research and research ethics; mental health and addictions; and position statements, policy papers and legislative change.

Ms. Dewhirst developed “The Privacy Prescription” to assist her clients with their privacy compliance, and provides privacy training programs across Ontario.

She advises hospitals on all aspects of their relationships with physicians and other professional staff (dentists, midwives, extended class nurses) from recruitment to difficult disciplinary matters.

Ms. Dewhirst is the primary author of the Ontario Hospital Association's “Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit,” which is the only resource in Canada on the topic for chiefs of staff and hospital boards.

Training executive directors and front-line staff on their legal duties, Ms. Dewhirst understands the inner dynamics of FHTs (FHOs/FHNs and other affiliated physician arrangements) and provides practical advice to that sector. She is the primary author of the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario’s “Statutory Compliance for Family Health Teams and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics.”

Ms. Dewhirst uses a “CLEOS” approach to assist her clients through their difficult clinical situations involving patients and their families; she looks at the clinical, legal, ethical, organizational and systemic issues to find solutions.

Kate Dewhirst Posts

Nine points to help child protection agencies prepare for change

It’s important that Ontario children’s aid societies start addressing pending privacy legislation, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst, who has developed a nine-point guideline intended to help in the transition. Read more

Consent is not the last word

By Kate Dewhirst Stay with me. This might be a bit bumpy. Let’s have a deep conversation about consent. And by consent, I mean consent in a health care context. Consent for treatment or for privacy decisions. Read more

Is an access-only parent entitled to their child’s health info?

By Kate Dewhirst A father who had access-only of his children complained to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) when he was denied certain details from a health care provider. Read more

Missing persons in Ontario – new police powers

By Kate Dewhirst On July 1 a new law came into effect: the Missing Persons Act, 2018. Healthcare organizations and providers need to know about this new law because there may be new documentation from police you will need to review. Read more

Update: No cameras allowed inside health examination rooms

By Kate Dewhirst The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) just released a new blog concluding that a clinic’s use of surveillance cameras violated the Personal Health Information Protection Act of Ontario. Read more

Does your organization need a ‘back-up’ privacy officer?

By Kate Dewhirst Yup — you do! I have heard from a lot of healthcare teams recently that they have been struggling with vacation, sick days, leaves of absence and unexpected departures from the privacy office. Read more

Are paper health records dangerous?

By Kate Dewhirst While we live in a highly digitized world, we still rely a lot on paper in healthcare. As we move towards even more integrated care, the reliance on and existence of paper health records will be a challenge to overcome. Read more

Top 5 areas for child welfare sector to focus on privacy law

Ontario’s children’s aid societies and other agencies in the child welfare sector would be well served to focus on five specific areas when they become subject to privacy rules for the first time this coming January, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst. Read more

Privacy lawyer joins Kate Dewhirst Health Law

As she celebrates the third anniversary of launching her own firm, Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst is welcoming senior lawyer Megan Ferrier to assist in taking on a new area of practice. Read more

Does your health-care team know what a privacy breach looks like?

By Kate Dewhirst Your privacy policy likely requires all staff members to “report any privacy breach” to the privacy officer. Read more

Privacy officers: we are trust builders

By Kate Dewhirst Why is privacy important? Because it is essential for building trust. Trust pops up time and time again in privacy breach stories. Read more

Dewhirst to host health privacy webinar Aug. 7

Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst hosts a free monthly webinar, Ask Me Anything About Health Privacy, on the first Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m. ET. Read more

Five tips for making the most out of 24 hours in your day

Lawyers struggling to fit everything into their day should change their focus and strive to create space in their lives instead, says Toronto health lawyer and coach Kate Dewhirst. Read more

The four elements that make a health-care team trustworthy

By Kate Dewhirst Trust. Trust is the foundation of healthcare. Without trust, patients delay receiving care. Without trust, patients do not share the truth that helps clinicians uncover what is actually happening. Read more

Ontario Health Teams Wave 1: privacy and culture shift supports

By Kate Dewhirst You and your community have signed up to be a Wave 1 Ontario Health Team. Does it feel like you are on a roller coaster? You signed up. You’ve strapped yourself into the seat. Read more