Sunday, July 03, 2011

Well The One Year Anniversary for the Health Identifier Service Has Come and Gone - And What Has Changed?

It is just over a year ago that the legislation for the Health Identifier Service passed the Senate and most citizens were allocated their 16 digit IHI.

In recognition of the one year anniversary I thought I would go and have a look at the Medicare Site for the latest news. Here is what I found:

Healthcare Identifiers Service

About the Healthcare Identifiers Service

The Federal, state and territory governments have developed a national Healthcare Identifiers Service (HI Service) which will uniquely identify healthcare providers and individuals who seek healthcare. Medicare Australia is the operator of the HI Service.

The HI Service will give individuals and healthcare providers confidence that the right health information is associated with the right individual at the point of care.

There are three types of Healthcare Identifiers.

  • Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI)—allocated to all individuals enrolled in the Medicare program or those who are issued with a Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) treatment card and others who seek healthcare in Australia.
  • Healthcare Provider Identifier—Individual (HPI-I) –allocated to healthcare providers involved in providing patient care.
  • Healthcare Provider Identifier—Organisation (HPI-O) –allocated to organisations (such as a hospital or medical clinic) where healthcare is provided.

IHIs have been created to be used by healthcare providers to improve the security and efficient management of an individual’s personal health information with strict privacy laws governing how these numbers are used.

IHIs do not replace Medicare or DVA numbers and do not affect the way medical benefits are claimed.

Individuals can view their IHI history online by registering for Medicare Australia's Online Services.

IHIs are not health records. The information held is limited to demographic information (such as name, date of birth and sex) which is needed to uniquely identify an individual and their healthcare providers.

IHIs are an essential building block needed to support the future of eHealth in Australia.

HI Service Updates

On 25 June 2011, new HI Service functionality to include contracted service provider (CSP) organisations and their officers (CSP officers) and authorised employee logging was introduced.

CSP organisations

CSP organisations provide:

  • information technology services relating to the communication of health information and/or health information management services under contract to healthcare provider organisations registered with the HI Service.

Before CSP organisations can access the HI Service on the healthcare organisation’s behalf, it must:

  • be registered with the HI Service
  • have an active status, and
  • be linked to a registered healthcare organisation.

A CSP organisation must have a minimum of one and a maximum of three CSP officers linked to the CSP organisation.

A CSP organisation can be linked to a healthcare organisation (in the HI Service) by the responsible officer of the healthcare organisation.

Authorised employee logging

The Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 requires a healthcare organisation registered with the HI Service to keep authorised employee information for seven years after an employee has ceased working at the organisation.

The new authorised employee logging function lets healthcare organisations store authorised employee details (demographic information and limited personal details) within the HI Service rather than in their local systems. Authorised employees can also contact Medicare Australia for HI Service support.

Authorised employee details must be submitted by an organisation maintenance officer (OMO). Go to Healthcare Identifiers Service - Authorised employee register form to complete authorised employee details.

Go to Online User Guide – Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service for information on how to submit the completed spreadsheet using the Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) email facility.

----- Page Update - 26 June 2011

The full page is here:

Also worth looking at is this page:

It is here you can obtain a license to obtain the ‘Licensed Materials’ you need to start to develop the software which will allow connection of practice and hospital software to the HI Service. The license is dated 29 April 2011.

Basically what we have had since the big announcement on July 1 has been a year of behind the scenes activity that does not seem to have actually moved along much in terms of any practical outcomes.

The saga prior to the July 1, release is found here:

The bottom line is that only in the last few weeks have software providers been given access, on sensible terms, to start to work to connect to the HI service and the appropriate permissions developed to have software support staff be able to work with clinical staff to make sure the HI Service is doing as expected in the individual practice.

It is clear that at this rate of progress we will all be pushing up daisies before any actual clinical outcomes and benefits are delivered.

I am sure we are going to be waiting a good while before the HI Service is seamlessly integrated into clinical software and even longer before it actually works to deliver the planned and intended benefits.

All the hype around the July, 1 2010 start-up date was just that, hype - as will be the July 1, 2012 start-up for the PCEHR I can confidently predict.

I look forward to still being around to hear of all the success stories - but I sure would not hold my breath!



Anonymous said...

The thing is, what is it that you actually get from the IHI service? Given an IHI, you can ... umm... what?

Well, you can send it to someone, but then what? What can anyone actually do with an IHI other than get it again?

Anonymous said...

The wave 1 vendors have just about completed their work with this...adoption by vendors and hence practices should progress reasonably quickly from there.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the more important anniversary that it is one year until the PCEHR "goes live"?