Kate Dewhirst

Kate Dewhirst
Kate Dewhirst Health Law
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

Legal innovation – unlocking your creativity

By Kate Dewhirst . The pressure to “innovate” is everywhere. Read more

The meaning of health law: Dewhirst

Practising health law is more than just acquiring a set of legal skills, it means immersing yourself in a discipline that goes to the heart of people’s lives, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst. Read more

Managing everyday complaints in health care

By Kate Dewhirst . I recently surveyed administrative and clinical team members at a family health team and discovered the top five issues that lead patients or families to complain where the conversation can get heated: Read more

Talking conflict on an FHT board

By Kate Dewhirst . Family health teams are interesting creations. What are they? Multi-disciplinary teams providing primary care services to communities across Ontario. Read more

Hospital boards and professional staff credentialing

By Kate Dewhirst . As you may know, the Auditor General released a report criticizing the Public Hospitals Act professional staff appointment appeals process for being time-consuming and costly. Read more

Hospital obligations around a physician's fitness to practise

Hospitals can avoid serious legal repercussions by establishing clear policies to deal with physicians whose fitness to practise is compromised by mental or physical illness, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst . Read more

Three legal questions every clinician should know how to answer

By Kate Dewhirst . 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: Read more

IPC decisions inform health providers about medical record issue

Five recent decisions from Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) are throwing light on the hot issue of how health-care providers should best respond to patients who request corrections or other changes to their medical records, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst . Read more

Crucial for law firms to recognize value of innovative thinking

As many lawyers are strapped for creative thinking time, it is difficult for innovative ideas to be nurtured unless firms intentionally carve out space to think about how they can improve their businesses, Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst tells The Lawyers Weekly . Read more

Entrepreneurial lens can help with lawyer career satisfaction

Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst enjoys running her own health law practice, but often sees other young lawyers working in firms where they feel confined by “golden handcuffs” — and, as she tells Law Times , she plans to help them achieve career satisfaction via a new coaching business. Read more

Would you choose to be a lawyer?

By Kate Dewhirst . I was recently at an event with a “mixed group” – a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers. Read more

Patient record disputes on the rise

With a sharp increase in the number of disputes involving access to patient records reported to Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner, Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst says it’s critical that health providers understand the rules of engagement when it comes to ensuring patients have access to their own information. Read more

The holidays: a time to be extra compassionate in health care

The holiday season is a stressful time for everyone, making it important for health-care providers to be extra diligent about showing compassion to patients and their families, says Toronto health lawyer Kate Dewhirst . Read more