Healthcare Identifiers

Healthcare identifiers are numbers that identify you for healthcare purposes.

About healthcare identifiers

If you have a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) card, you have an Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI). Healthcare providers use this to make sure they have your right information.

Your IHI doesn’t:

  • contain health information
  • replace your Medicare or DVA number
  • affect the way you claim medical benefits

If you don’t have a Medicare or DVA card, you can still apply for an IHI. Complete the Healthcare Identifiers Service application form.

Your healthcare identifier history

If you have a Medicare card, you can see who has looked up your healthcare identifier online.

Other ways to look up your healthcare identifier history include:

My Health Record system

We use your IHI to create a My Health Record for you. This is a secure online summary of your health information. Health professionals can access your My Health Record with your permission.

Read more on the My Health Record website.

Getting an IHI for a different name

If you identify as vulnerable or at risk, you might use a different name when you get healthcare for privacy reasons.

You can also get an IHI and a My Health Record for that name. We don’t link this new IHI to your real identity.  

Apply for an IHI for a different name:

If you use a different name to get healthcare, you can’t use it to get Medicare benefits or access the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Privacy

How your healthcare provider uses your IHI

Your healthcare provider can only get your IHI from us if they provide your Medicare or DVA details. Each time a healthcare provider accesses your IHI, we’ll record this in your healthcare identifier history.

There are penalties for misusing an IHI.

How we use your IHI

We collect, use and disclose your IHI in line with the:

  • Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010
  • Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2010
  • Privacy Act 1988, and
  • Australian Privacy Principles

Read the Regulations on the Federal Register of Legislation website for more information.

Releasing information

We can share your IHI:

  • with healthcare providers
  • with providers who manage health information
  • on your My Health Record
  • with anyone you’ve given permission to have your information

Read about your right to privacy.

Page last updated: 27 August 2017