Healthcare Identifiers Service

The Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service) has been established as a foundation service for e-health initiative in Australia.

Page last updated: 26 September 2012

What’s new

01/07/2010 – The Healthcare Identifiers Service has commenced today.

The legislation and regulations to support the HI Service are now available to view at ComLaw:

Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010

Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Act 2010

Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2010

Please see here for previous announcements.

What is e-health?

Governments across Australia have committed to a national approach to e-health that will enable a safer, higher quality, more equitable and sustainable health system for all Australians.

E-health is set to improve the way healthcare is delivered by transforming the way information is used to plan, manage and deliver health services. It will achieve this through better use of information technology to facilitate electronic access, transmission and recording of health information.

The personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system

The Australian Government’s personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system was launched on 1 July 2012. People seeking healthcare in Australia can now register for an eHealth record – a secure, electronic summary of your important health information.


Visit ehealth to register for an eHealth record or to find out more information about the eHealth record system.

Healthcare organisations in Australian can also now register to participate in the eHealth record system. As more people register and as healthcare organisations join the eHealth record system, the better connected Australia’s health system will become and the better it will serve all Australians.

Registration with the HI Service is a prerequisite for a healthcare organisation to be registered for the eHealth record system.

You can apply for an HPI-O now. To register your organisation for an HPI-O, go to the HI Service page on the Medicare Australia website and download the appropriate application form.

All healthcare professionals who wish to access the eHealth record system on behalf of an organisation via the provider portal need to be registered with the HI Service. To register for an HPI-I, or to find out what your HPI-I is, please contact the HI Service.

The Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service)

A healthcare identifier is a unique number that has been be assigned to healthcare consumers, and to healthcare providers and organisations that provide health services.

The identifiers are assigned and administered through the HI Service that has been established to undertake this task. The HI Service is being operated by Medicare Australia.
A key aim of healthcare identifiers is to ensure that individuals and providers can have confidence that the right health information is associated with the right individual at the point of care.

For further information on the HI Service see: Frequently Asked Questions on the HI Service and more information about healthcare identifiers and the Healthcare Identifiers Service is available at ehealth information or Medicare Australia.

Healthcare identifiers are an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that was developed through the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).

For more information, view NEHTA's work program.

Legislation to support the HI Service

The implementation of healthcare identifiers is supported by a strong and effective legislative framework that includes governance arrangements, permitted uses and privacy safeguards.

The legislation and regulations to support the HI Service are now available to view at ComLaw:

Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010

Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Act 2010

Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2010

A summary of consultation process undertaken to develop legislative proposals is now available.

National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on E-Health

On 7 December 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) signed a NPA on e-health setting out cooperative jurisdictional arrangements for e-health, including the HI Service. A copy of the COAG Communiqué and the NPA on e-health are available.

Health Privacy

Privacy is a fundamental principle underpinning quality healthcare. Consumer trust in the appropriate handling of personal health information must be maintained as the health sector moves to adopt and implement new technologies. Ensuring that there is a clear privacy framework will allow consumers to reap the benefits from improved information flows at the point of care, knowing that their privacy will be protected.

There have been a number of major reviews of privacy law in Australia, the most recent being undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice, Report 108 (2008).

On 24 June 2010, the Australian Government released an exposure draft of the new Australian Privacy Principles, a cornerstone of the Australian Government’s privacy reforms. The new principles have been referred to a Senate Committee which will consult on proposed reforms to the Privacy Act.

The exposure draft and a link to a companion guide are available on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's website.

Further information

For additional information please contact the Department of Health and Ageing, eHealth Strategy Branch on (02) 6289 3919.

More information about healthcare identifiers and the Healthcare Identifiers Service is available at ehealth information or Medicare Australia

You can subscribe here to receive updates on the Healthcare Identifiers Service.

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