Healthcare Identifiers Service for health professionals

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

About

About the HI Service

The Healthcare Identifier Service (HI Service) lets you access unique patient healthcare identifiers so you can include them in health records or patient files.

It’s vital for health professionals to be able to accurately identify patients. Healthcare identifiers provide a way for you to match the correct records to the person you’re treating. This improves accuracy when you share health information with other healthcare providers.

Read more about getting, using and disclosing healthcare identifiers in the HI Service User Guide.

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

Types of Healthcare Identifiers

There are 3 types of Healthcare Identifiers.

Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) - for individuals getting healthcare services

The system automatically assigns IHIs to every person enrolled in Medicare 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

HPI-Is are for GPs, allied health professionals, nurses, dentists and pharmacists who provide patient care.

Healthcare Provider Identifier–Organisation (HPI–O) – for organisations

HPI-Os are for organisations delivering healthcare, such as hospitals or general practices.

Other organisations that help support the HI Service and My Health Record need to get a HI Service registration number. These include:

  • Contracted service providers - generally IT organisations who manage or communicate 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 healthcare identifiers and the HI Service

You need Medicare public key infrastructure (PKI) to access patients’ individual healthcare identifiers (IHIs) in the HI Service with your organisation’s software.

If you have a Medicare PKI site certificate, link it in Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) on your organisation’s certificate tab. This will give you access to the HI Service.

You can:

You can’t renew a Medicare PKI site certificate in HPOS. Read more about renewals

Read more about PKI

Read more about HPOS.

Access HI Service administrative functions in HPOS

You need a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account to use Health Professional Online Services (HPOS).

Make sure you link your PRODA account to the HI Service first so you can access the Healthcare Identifiers tile in HPOS. You can use any one of these identifiers to link your account:

  • responsible officer
  • organisation maintenance officer
  • HPI-I
  • HPI-O.

Read about linking your services to your PRODA account. 

Read more about PRODA.

In HPOS, select the Healthcare Identifiers Service tile to:

  • update your organisation details
  • add contact details
  • search for other healthcare providers registered in the HI Service Healthcare Provider Directory
  • request and link PKI certificates.

Read more about HPOS.

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 you’re sending secure messages, referrals, discharge summaries and patient test requests.

If the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) regulates your profession, and you consent to include your professional and business details in the Healthcare Provider Directory, you also consent to us updating it to match your AHPRA details if they change.

If you’re not regulated by AHPRA, you can update your directory details in HPOS.

 

Applying

Eligibility

To be eligible for a healthcare identifier assigned by the HI Service, you must be:

  • a healthcare provider:
    • an organisation that provides healthcare (a healthcare provider organisation)
    • a health professional (an individual healthcare provider), or
  • an organisation that helps in the delivery of digital Health (a contracted service provider or general supporting organisation).

Apply

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

Managing

Keep your details up to date

Individual healthcare providers and healthcare provider organisations must keep these details up to date in the HI Service:

  • contact details
  • employee details
  • organisation ownership details.

Update your details online

Individual healthcare providers registered with AHPRA can’t use HPOS to update HI Service details. You need to contact AHPRA. Once you’ve updated your details with AHPRA, your HI Service details will automatically update overnight.

If you’re not registered with AHPRA, 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.

Register seed organisations in HI Service and My Health Record, and manage NASH certificates in HPOS

A guide to help organisation representatives register their seed organisation in the HI Service and My Health Record, and manage their individual and organisation Medicare and NASH certificates in HPOS.

Read more about registering seed organisations in HI Service and managing NASH

Change ownership

A healthcare provider organisation must tell us about 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, the new owners must meet eligibility requirements.

When a healthcare provider organisation first registers in the HI Service, we need supporting 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 an organisation changes ownership but still operates as a general practice or hospital after it’s sold, the HPI-O may remain the same. 

We assess each change of ownership application on merit.

What you need to provide depends on your circumstances. A change of ownership can be simple or complex.

Change ownership - simple

A simple ownership change is when a stand-alone healthcare provider organisation or seed organisation:

  • changes ownership, and
  • doesn’t need to change the network hierarchy.

You’ll need to provide:

If the original responsible officer (RO) stays with the new owner, you must provide proof of their authority to act on behalf of the new seed. Include this with 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.

Change ownership - complex

A complex ownership change is when a seed or network healthcare provider organisation needs to change the network hierarchy.

If your network organisation becomes a seed organisation, you need to provide:

  • an Application to Register a Seed Organisation form (HW018) and supporting documents. Email the Healthcare Identifiers Service Operations Team for a copy of the form
  • 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 relevant, 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.

We need to identify Authorised employees who access the HI Service in electronic transactions or over the phone.

Organisations should tell authorised employees that we collect identifying information 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.

For us to verify the identity of an authorised employee, the organisation must have at least 1 of the following in place:

  1. Authorised employee register
    The authorised employee register (the register) allows us to verify the identity of authorised employees over the phone. The register includes access dates and details of all authorised employees. The Employment Start Date is the date the authorised employee was first authorised to access the HI Service. The Employment End Date is the date their authorisation to access the HI Service ceased.

    The HI Service stores information on behalf of the organisation.

    The OMO submits the register online to the Healthcare Identifiers Service through HPOS.

    The register must include the organisation’s full list of authorised employees.

    Each submitted register will replace any previously submitted register.

    Authorised employees should read the privacy notice on the register before it’s submitted.
  2. Software
    The software the organisation uses to access the HI Service must include details of authorised employees and each transaction.
  3. Organisation employee register
    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 update your AHPRA registration information. If you consent to include your professional and business details in the Healthcare Provider Directory, you also consent to us updating it to match your AHPRA details.

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: 15 October 2018