Individual Health Identifier (IHI)
IHI is a number that will be used to safely identify an individual and their health information when using a health service. The main benefit of having an IHI is to ensure patient safety. It achieves this by:
- Identifying the patient
- Identifying the patients records
- Enabling the provision of current and historical health information which supports more informed clinical decisions.
IHI also enables improved patient care by:
- Tracking patients’ touchpoints with Health Services therefore enabling the identification of trends and subsequently the development of appropriate patient care pathways.
- Enabling the safe transfer of patients records as they transfer across acute and community services (public/private and cross-border).
- Enabling the capture of Health Intelligence data which can be used by researchers for the development of better treatments deriving better health outcomes.
It provides efficiency of Health Services by tracking of patients across health services which:
- Identifies where efficiencies can be achieved by focusing on high volume services and planning of services to meet demand.
- Collates more accurate information e.g. identification of duplication of patients on waiting lists for the same consultation, procedure or service.
The IHI enhances privacy by:
- Enabling a mechanism for ensuring that only Health Service Providers that are entitled to access the data for that patient, have access to the IHI.
- Enabling the identification and logging of access to patient records.
It is critical for the provision of eHealth systems for:
- Identifying individual patients in health care systems.
- Identifying individual’s health records in health care systems.
- Linkage of health records across systems for presentation to health care providers.
- Electronic recording of patient transfers and referrals across the health systems, across all health domains (acute, community, disease registers, public and private, national and international).
- Complying with GDPR, supporting audit requirements on health record access logs.