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Healthcare Identifiers

The Healthcare Identifiers Service (operated by Medicare) issues unique 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 My Health 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  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 when providing 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 My Health Record system, see our My Health Records page.

Further information

These fact sheets currently use the term ‘eHealth record’ and ‘personally controlled electronic health record’.  An eHealth record, personally controlled electronic health record or PCEHR means a My Health Record, within the meaning of the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth) (formerly called the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 (Cth)).

These fact sheets are currently under review and the revised versions will use the new terminology.

Healthcare Identifiers Service

Enquiries line: 1300 361 457

National E-Health Transition Authority

Website:; in particular My Health Record System and Healthcare Identifiers (HI).