Healthcare Identifiers Act and Service Review - Final Report - June 2013

4.3 Maintenance of Healthcare Identifiers databases

Page last updated: 28 November 2013

DHS has implemented comprehensive processes to maintain the accuracy of the Healthcare Identifiers databases. These processes include checks for duplicates and replicates, updating status of records to verified, deceased etc. Data are maintained on the number of transactions performed for each of these maintenance activities. These business processes are underpinned by a suite of procedure guides for staff within DHS that provide clear instructions on the processes that should be followed.

Duplicate and replicate management is a major concern from a clinical safety perspective. This function is actively managed by DHS and they have implemented robust processes to manage this. DHS routinely reports duplicates and replicates that are identified through DHS processes as well as those that are identified by providers or a trusted data source. The process to resolve duplicates is actively managed and the reporting effective in monitoring occurrence and resolution, as are processes for the allocation and retirement of numbers.

It would increase confidence in the Service if information about the processes to manage the database were made available to key external stakeholders. Summary operational reports which provide this data are circulated to the major governance groups, including the NEHTA Board.

Across all healthcare services using the Healthcare Identifiers system, ongoing data quality processes will need to be implemented and appropriately resourced. Within large health services, the effort to resolve issues will fall to health information managers. There are concerns in jurisdictions that they do not currently have the resource capacity to undertake the level of data cleansing that will be required to make the Service operate reliably. However, this is also likely to be an issue for smaller practices who have no staff dedicated to this task.

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