Healthcare Identifiers

The Healthcare Identifiers Service (operated by Medicare Australia) issues unique health identifiers to all individuals who receive healthcare in Australia. The aim is to help healthcare providers accurately communicate information with each other and identify and access patient records in the personally controlled electronic health (eHealth) record system.

The Healthcare Identifiers Service also issues identifiers to healthcare providers. The purpose of Healthcare Provider Identifiers is to identify providers accessing the Healthcare Identifiers Service database and to link records with the right healthcare provider, at the right location.

The handling of healthcare identifiers is regulated by the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 (Healthcare Identifiers Act) and Healthcare Identifier Regulations 2010. Healthcare providers may only access, use and disclose healthcare identifiers for the limited purposes permitted under the Healthcare Identifiers Act. The main permitted purpose is to communicate or manage health information as part of the provision of healthcare to an individual. However, there are other limited purposes for which healthcare identifiers may be used or disclosed, including for the management and evaluation of healthcare and for approved research.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) regulates the handling of healthcare identifiers by all individuals and organisations, and can investigate complaints. The OAIC has the power to investigate healthcare identifier complaints against state or territory bodies (such as public hospitals), unless the state or territory legislates to give that power to another regulatory body. Currently no state or territory has nominated a local regulator and the OAIC is responsible for all complaints.

For more information about the eHealth record system, see our eHealth page.

Further information

Healthcare Identifier Service

Healthcare Identifier Service
Enquiries line: 1300 361 457
email: healthcareidentifiers@humanservices.gov.au
website:

National E-Health Transition Authority

National E-Health Transition Authority
website: www.ehealthinfo.gov.au/healthcare-identifiers

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