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The National Healthcare Identifier Service Current State and Issues

This white paper identifies current issues with the Health Identifier (HI) service that may impact software vendors, Medical Software Industry Association (MSIA) members and associated software products.

The aim of the paper is to inform member companies and MSIA policies related to HI service implementation and related software products and interfaces.

Operated by Medicare, the HI service provides management capability for three numbers - a patient individual health identifier (IHI), a clinical provider identifier (HPI-I) and a healthcare organisational identifier (HPI-O).

It states that the addition of unverified IHIs for newborns and provisional HIs for which there are no clear usage guidelines, further complicates the field and introduces safety risks. On that basis, the HI CCA Technical Committee has recently recommended that unverified IHIs should not be used because the balance of utility to safety, given current policy settings, was too low.

A recent survey by MSIA showed very few customers have expressed interest in systems that support national identifiers. Lack of demand for healthcare identifier capable systems is likely to remain a serious barrier.

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