Healthcare Identifiers Service

A national system that uses a unique number to match healthcare providers to individuals.

About the service

If you’re enrolled in Medicare or have a Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) card, you automatically have an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). Your healthcare provider can include this identifier in your health records to make sure they have the right information about you.

The Healthcare Identifiers Service is only a number and doesn’t contain health information. It doesn’t replace your Medicare or DVA number and doesn’t affect the way you claim medical benefits.

If you aren’t eligible for Medicare or DVA, for example, you’re a visitor to Australia or an international student, you can still apply for an IHI by completing the Healthcare Identifiers Service application form.

Viewing your IHI information

You can view your IHI information and history online. Otherwise, call the Healthcare Identifiers Service line or visit a service centre for a copy.

You may see 3 different identifiers when looking at your history. These identify you and the healthcare provider. For example:

  • Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) – your healthcare identifier number
  • Healthcare Provider Identifier (HPI-I) – the identifier number of the healthcare provider who provided you with care
  • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI-O) – the identifier number of the organisation where you received care such as a hospital or medical clinic

Your IHI in the My Health Record system

Your IHI is used for your digital health record in the My Health Record system. This is a secure online summary of your health information. With your permission, your health record can be accessed by health professionals providing care for you.

Read more on the My Health Record website.

Requesting a pseudonym IHI

You can’t claim Medicare benefits or access the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme using pseudonym identification or an alias.

If you get healthcare using a pseudonym identification, you can ask for an IHI in that name and create a My Health Record. Neither will be linked to your real identity.

Apply for a pseudonym IHI:

Apply for a pseudonym My Health Record at a service centre.

Privacy

Your healthcare provider can get your IHI from the Healthcare Identifier Service if they provide your exact Medicare or DVA details. This is authorised by law.

Each time your IHI is accessed, the request is recorded in your IHI history. The system doesn’t allow for browsing of records.

There are penalties for intentionally misusing an IHI.

How and when we can collect, use and disclose your personal information is outlined in the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010, the Privacy Act 1988, and the Australian Privacy Principles on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Collection of personal information

We may collect your personal information directly from you, or from:

  • Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • Department of Defence, or
  • a registration authority legally responsible for registering health professionals

Collection of personal information is authorised by the Healthcare Identifiers Act and the Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2010.

Read the Healthcare Identifiers Regulations on the Federal Register of Legislation website.

Disclosure of personal information

Under the Healthcare Identifiers Act, we may disclose your personal information to:

  • healthcare providers, authorised employees of healthcare providers or contracted service providers who manage your health information as part of your healthcare
  • a person whom you have authorised disclosure of personal information
  • registration authorities legally responsible for registering health professions for the purpose of assigning healthcare identifiers
  • the My Health Record system operator
  • entities that issue security credentials to authenticate a healthcare provider’s identity in electronic transmissions

Read about your right to privacy.

Page last updated: 16 November 2016