Australian HealthCare Identifiers and Service

Healthcare identifiers (HI) Service developed by the federal, state and territory governments that uniquely identifies healthcare providers and consumers. These identifiers are important building blocks of E-Health in Australia and used to enable PCEHR system and are used on medical documents, patient wrist bands, tokens etc.

The HI service is mainly used by

  • public and private sector hospitals
  • general practice
  • clinical specialist
  • community health
  • healthcare administrators
  • allied health
  • aged care settings

Healthcare identifiers are categorised into the following

  1. Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHI)  – For individuals receiving health care
  2. Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI-I) – For healthcare providers and personnel involved in patient care
  3. Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) – For organisations that deliver healthcare (hospitals or medical practices)

Further IHI is classified into the following

  1. Verified – Evidence of Identity(EOI) completed through TDS(Trusted Data Sources) or HI service
  2. Unverified – Not verified by EOI process
  3. Provisional – Not known to healthcare facility and expires in 90 days
  4. Deceased – Indicates death of an individual
  5. Retired – IHI has been inactive for 90 days and Fact of Death Data received from Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Each identifier is a unique number adhered to ISO7812: AS 3523.1&2-2008 standards and is of 16 digits in length. It doesn’t contain any identification information such as age, location etc. and never be re-used.

The first 1-6 digits contains issuer identification number (for example medicare) and 7-15 digits contains a unique reference number that identifies an individual. The last digit 16 is reserved as check digit which can calculated from issuer identification and individual reference number.

The main functions of a HI service are

  • Allocating IHIs, HPI-Is, and HPO-Is,
  • To allow authorised users  to search, retrieve and validate IHIs, HPI-Is, and HPO-Is
  • To allow authorised users to maintain and publish certain data (allowed only with HPI-Is and HPO-Is)
  • To provide digital certificates for access
  • Retiring identifiers

E-Health software systems engaged in health care uses HI service to issue, assign and maintain national healthcare identifiers for consumers and providers.  These systems access HI service directly or indirectly ( depends on the other systems which have direct access to HI). All the systems should undergo conformance testing(CCA) performed by NATA recognised laboratories to prove it supports clinical safety, security and privacy.

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