Healthcare Identifiers Service for health professionals

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

About

About our service

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.

Our service lets you access unique patient healthcare identifiers so you can include them in health records or patient files.

Read the HI Service User Guide for information about getting, using and disclosing healthcare identifiers.

To access healthcare identifiers you need to register with the HI Service. It’s also the first step in accessing patients’ My Health Records.

Types of 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 need to register to get 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

Access to healthcare identifiers and the HI Service

To access patient individual healthcare identifiers and the HI Service you need:

  • a Medicare Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) organisation certificate
  • a Medicare PKI individual certificate or a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account

Read more about getting a PRODA account.

With a Medicare PKI site certificate, you can use your patient administration or practice management software to:

  • access patient individual healthcare identifiers
  • look at contact details of other healthcare provider organisations and individual healthcare providers
  • update healthcare provider organisation details

With a Medicare PKI Individual certificate or a PRODA account, you can log on to Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) to:

  • update your contact details
  • look at contact details of other healthcare provider organisations and individual healthcare providers

Apply for a Medicare PKI certificate

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 PKI.

Healthcare Provider Directory

The Healthcare Provider Directory is a listing of HPI-Os and HPI-Is. 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.

If your profession is regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), you also consent to the directory being updated to match the details they hold about you. 

You can update your directory details in HPOS.

Applying

Applying

How to apply for your healthcare identifier and National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate.

Read more about applying for your healthcare identifier and NASH PKI certificate

Eligibility

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)

Managing

Updating your details

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.

Online services

The easiest way to manage details in the HI Service is online through HPOS. You need a Provider Digital Account (PRODA) to access HPOS.

Read more about PRODA.

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.

Using the Healthcare Identifiers Service and managing NASH certificates in HPOS

A guide to help health professionals manage their individual and organisation Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service and NASH certificates in HPOS.

Read more about using the HI Service and managing NASH certificates in HPOS

Change of ownership

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

An organisation that operates in the same way it did before a change of ownership will likely keep its HPI-O. For example, if the organisation has changed ownership but still operates as a general practice or hospital after the sale, the HPI-O may remain the same. 

Each change of ownership application is independently assessed.

What you need to provide depends on your healthcare provider organisation's situation. A change of ownership can be simple or complex.

Simple change of ownership

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:

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.

Complex change of ownership

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:

If you have questions about a change of ownership, or need help contact the Healthcare Identifiers Service Operations Team.

Amend an organisation, responsible officer or organisation maintenance officer record

Register or update authorised employee details

Some employees may need access to the HI Service as part of their duties. These are 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:

  1. 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 or PRODA account. 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.

  2. Software

    The software the organisation uses to access the HI Service must include details of authorised employees and each transaction.

  3. Maintain own details

    The organisation maintains and stores its own register of authorised employee details.

Amend an individual healthcare provider record

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.

Amend a contracted service provider organisation or officer record

Contracted service providers can only update their information by form.

Resources

Useful links

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:

Previous editions of the Healthcare Identifiers Service Annual Reports.

Page last updated: 1 July 2018