There are three types of Healthcare Identifiers:
- Individual Healthcare Identifiers (IHI) - for individuals receiving healthcare services;
- Healthcare Provider Identifiers - Individual (HPI-I) for healthcare professionals involved in providing patient care; and
- Healthcare Provider Identifiers - Organisation (HPI-O) for organisations such as hospitals or health clinics where healthcare is provided.
The Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA), with input from States and Territories, is responsible for legislation and policy setting for Healthcare Identifiers and other national e-Health programs.
Two organisations play a key role in the management of the HI Service:
- The Department of Human Services (Chief Executive Medicare) as the HI Service Operator; and
- The National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) as the Managing Agent overseeing the contract and operation of the Service and with responsibilities for stakeholder engagement, communication, clinical safety and assurance.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is a Trusted Data Source responsible for assigning identifiers for registered Healthcare Providers that fall within AHPRA’s area of responsibility. Identifiers for other providers not registered by AHPRA are assigned by DHS. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs is also a Trusted Data Source for the HI Service.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has a key role in the regulation and oversight of the HI Service.
Components of the e-Health strategy that have dependencies on the Healthcare Identifiers program include:
- PCEHR - Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record: A secure electronic record of a patient’s medical history that is stored and shared in a network of connected systems. The PCEHR system uses the HI Service to facilitate the identification of patients and healthcare providers. The PCEHR System Operator is the Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing.
- eTP - Electronic Transfer of Prescriptions: Secure exchange of prescription information between prescribers and dispensers. eTP specifications have been developed by NEHTA. Similar to the PCEHR system, eTP will use the HI Service to identify the parties involved.
- NASH - National Authentication Service for Health: Nationwide secure and authenticated service for healthcare organisations and providers to exchange
e-Health information. NASH uses Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Certificates to authenticate healthcare providers.
- Secure Messaging: Secure Messaging combines the basic technologies of unique identification, authorisation, and message security to provide the safest and optimally secure method of exchanging healthcare information.
- Electronic Discharge Summaries: Secure transmission of hospital discharge summaries to an individual’s nominated provider.
- E-Referrals: e-Referrals provide a secure mechanism to exchange significant patient information from one treating healthcare provider to another.