Healthcare Identifiers Service for health professionals
A national system that uses a unique number to match healthcare providers to individuals.
The accurate identification of individuals is critical in health communication. Healthcare identifiers provide a way for you to match the correct records to the person you’re treating. This improves accuracy when communicating and sharing health information with other healthcare providers.
If you include healthcare identifiers in a health record system or patient file, this doesn’t change when you share information about individuals. It’s a more reliable way of referencing, particularly in electronic communications and information management systems.
To access healthcare identifiers and use the HI Service you need to register with us. Read the HI Service User Guide for information about getting, using and disclosing healthcare identifiers.
- Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI)
- for individuals getting healthcare services. IHIs are automatically assigned to every person enrolled in the Medicare program or registered with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Other individuals, such as overseas visitors, can apply directly to the HI Service for an IHI
- Healthcare Provider Identifier–Individual (HPI–I)
- for individual healthcare providers such as GPs, allied health professionals, nurses, dentists and pharmacists who provide patient care
- Healthcare Provider Identifier–Organisation (HPI–O)
- for organisations delivering healthcare, such as hospitals or general practices
Other organisations helping you with the HI Service and My Health Record system need to register to be assigned a HI Service registration number. This includes:
- Contracted service providers - generally IT organisations who provide management or communication of health information on your behalf
- General supporting organisations - organisations who provide infrastructure and information for the My Health Record system. They can also communicate with you and other supporting organisations
To access healthcare identifiers and HI Service functions you must have a Medicare Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate.
With a Medicare PKI site certificate you can access:
- healthcare identifiers,
- contact details of other organisations using patient administration systems, and
- practice management software or HPOS (note, IHIs are only available using your software)
With a Medicare PKI Individual certificate you can:
- update contact details,
- perform other functions depending on your software. Contact your software provider for more information
To request a Medicare PKI certificate complete the Application to request or update a Public Key Infrastructure certificate form. Before using the PKI certificate read the Certificate Policy and Terms and Conditions of Use.
If you already have a PKI certificate, contact us to update it to include access to the HI Service.
Read more about Public Key Infrastructure.
The Healthcare Provider Directory is a consent-based listing of HPI-Os and HPI-Is. You can choose to include business and service details in your entry. If you’re published in the directory you, and other registered healthcare providers, can search for contact and specialty details and healthcare provider identifiers. This can be useful when sending secure messages, referrals, discharge summaries and forwarding patient test requests.
You can consent to a directory entry when you apply for your HPI-O, or apply for one later.
If your profession is regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), you also consent to the directory being updated to reflect changes to details they hold about you. Access to the directory is through appropriate patient administration systems or practice management software, or online through HPOS.
Details of how to apply for your healthcare identifier and National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate.
To be eligible for a healthcare identifier assigned by the HI Service, you must be either:
- a healthcare provider:
- an organisation where healthcare is provided (a healthcare provider organisation)
- a health professional (an individual healthcare provider), or
- an organisation that helps in the delivery of eHealth (a contracted service provider or general supporting organisation)
If you’re an individual healthcare provider or healthcare provider organisation, you must update the HI Service with any changes, including contact details, employee details, or ownership of organisations.
You can update most details using appropriate software or online through HPOS. Individual healthcare providers registered with AHPRA need to contact them to update AHPRA registration details
The easiest way to manage details in the HI Service is online through HPOS. You’ll need a Medicare PKI Individual certificate.
Alternatively, your software may have the functionality to manage your details. Contact your software vendor for information.
Healthcare provider organisation representatives can:
- manage contact details for seed and network organisations, such as email addresses and phone numbers
- create new network organisations
- create and manage Healthcare Provider Directory entries and links to individual healthcare providers working at the organisation
- search the Healthcare Provider Directory for healthcare identifiers of other registered healthcare providers
- manage My Health Record system authorisation links to individual healthcare providers and contracted service providers
Individual healthcare providers not registered with AHPRA can:
- add and manage contact details, such as email addresses and phone numbers
- select preferred mailing addresses
- manage Healthcare Provider Directory entries
Individual healthcare providers registered with AHPRA can do the same except manage existing details provided by AHPRA.
A guide to help health professionals manage their individual and organisation Healthcare Identifiers Service information in HPOS.
A healthcare provider organisation must tell the Healthcare Identifiers Service Operator of changes affecting their eligibility to have a Healthcare Provider Identifier-Organisation (HPI-O). This includes a change of ownership.
If a healthcare provider organisation changes ownership, we need to make sure the new owners meet these conditions. When a healthcare provider organisation first registers in the HI Service, we get documents to:
- prove the organisation is a business entity
- prove the identity of the responsible officer (RO), and
- ensure the RO is authorised to act on behalf of the organisation when working with the HI Service
Organisations that operate in the same way they did before a change of ownership will retain their HPI-O. For example, if the organisation has changed ownership but still operates as a general practice or hospital after the sale, their HPI-O remains the same.
What you need to provide depends on your healthcare provider organisation's situation. A change of ownership can be simple or complex.
This relates to stand-alone healthcare provider organisations or seed organisations where the change of ownership doesn’t result in changes to an existing network hierarchy.
You’ll need to provide:
- Application to amend a Healthcare Organisation Record form
- supporting documents for the new owner, including evidence of business identity such as an ASIC document
If the original responsible officer (RO) is staying in the same role after the change, provide evidence of their authority to act on behalf of the new seed organisation ownership. For the purposes of the HI Service you must attach evidence to the Application to amend a Healthcare Organisation Record form.
If there is a new RO or Organisation Maintenance Officer (OMO), complete the Application to replace a Responsible Officer or add/remove an Organisation Maintenance Officer for an Organisation form.
This relates to either seed or network healthcare provider organisations where network hierarchy changes are involved.
If your network organisation is becoming a seed organisation, you need to provide:
- Application to Register a Seed Organisation form and supporting documents,
- a letter with the names and HPI-Os of any networks that move with the new seed and any changes in the hierarchy structure, and
- if applicable a letter from the previous owner agreeing to the loss of any networks moving with the new seed organisation
If your seed organisation is a network of another organisation, or your network organisation is moving under a different seed organisation, you need to provide:
- Application to amend a Healthcare Organisation Record form,
- supporting documents including evidence of the new ownership arrangements,
- a letter stating:
- the RO has the authority to act on behalf of the incoming organisation
- the name and HPI-O of the incoming organisation and any networks, and where they should sit in the gaining organisation's structure, and
- a letter from the previous RO agreeing to the loss of organisation and any networks moving with it
If there is a new OMO, the gaining seed RO or OMO must complete the following form:
- Application to replace a Responsible Officer or add/remove an Organisation Maintenance Officer for an Organisation form
If you have questions about a change of ownership, or need help contact the Healthcare Identifiers Service Operations Team.
- to replace a RO for a seed, or to add or remove an additional OMO for a seed or network, use the Application to replace a Responsible Officer or add/remove an Organisation Maintenance Officer for an Organisation form
- to change personal details of an existing RO or OMO, use the Application to amend Organisation Officer's personal details
- to add or change details of an existing seed or organisation, use the Application to amend Healthcare Organisation record
- to deactivate, reactivate or retire an organisation's healthcare identifier, use the Application to deactivate, reactivate or retire a Healthcare Organisation record
Some employees may need access to the HI Service as part of their duties. These are called authorised employees.
Authorised employees who access the HI Service must be identified in electronic transactions or be able to identify themselves over the phone. Organisations should advise authorised employees that identifying information will be collected for this purpose. Under the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010, the HI Service can request details of authorised employees for up to seven years after they no longer have access to healthcare identifiers.
To ensure an authorised employees’ identity can be verified, the organisation must have at least one of the following in place:
- Authorised employee register
The authorised employee register allows the identity of authorised employees to be verified over the phone.
The OMO submits the Healthcare Identifiers Service - Authorised employee register online, through the HPOS Mail Centre, using a Medicare PKI certificate. This includes details of all authorised employees. The HI Service will store the information on behalf of the organisation.
When completing Employment Start Date and Employment End Date, provide the date the authorised employee first became authorised to access the HI Service and the date they stopped being authorised to access the HI Service.
When submitting a register, it must include the organisation’s full list of authorised employees. Each submitted register will replace any previously submitted register.
An authorised employee should read the privacy notice on the register before they are included.
The software the organisation uses to access the HI Service must include details of authorised employees and each transaction.
- Maintain own details
The organisation maintains and stores its own register of authorised employee details.
If you need to amend your name, date of birth or other details that require supporting documents use the Application to amend a Healthcare Provider Record form. You can also use this form to add or update Healthcare Provider Directory entries.
If you’re registered with AHPRA, you must contact the agency to make changes to your AHPRA registration information. If you consent to include your professional and business details in the Healthcare Provider Directory, you also consent to the directory being updated to reflect any changes that AHPRA hold about you.
Contracted service providers can only update their information by form.
- To add, replace or remove a contracted service provider officer use the Application to add, replace or remove a Contracted Service Provider officer form
- To amend details of a contracted service provider organisation use the Application to Amend Details of a Contracted Service Provider Organisation Record form
- To amend details of a contracted service provider officer use the Application to amend a Contracted Service Provider Officer's Details form
- To deactivate or retire a contracted service provider organisation use the Application to Deactivate or Retire a Contracted Service Provider Organisation Record form. A retired organisation in the HI Service will no longer be considered participating in the My Health Record system
Healthcare identifiers are to be used for healthcare and related management purposes only. There are penalties in place for misuse, outlined in the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (the Act).
We recommend you read the following documents to understand things you need to be aware of when accessing, using and disclosing healthcare identifiers.
Read the Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report:
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2015-16
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2015-16
Previous editions of the Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Reports.
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2014-15
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2014-15
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2013-14
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2012-13
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2011-12
- Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Report 2010-11