Individual Health Identifier (IHI)

Individual Health Identifier (IHI)

Context and Background

An Individual Health Identifier (IHI) is a number that safely identifies a person who has used, is using or may use a health or social care service in Ireland. The provision of an IHI for individuals was identified as a key enabler for “eHealth Strategy for Ireland December 2013”. The IHI number will be used to safely identify the individual and enable the linking of their correct health records from different health systems to give a complete medical history.

This will allow for Health Care Practitioners to provide health services to individuals supported by a comprehensive view of their relevant medical history. The Health Identifiers Act, of July, 2014, provided for the establishment and maintenance of national registers for: 

•Individual Health Identifiers

•Health Service Provider Identifiers (Practitioners and Organisations)

An animation explaining the IHI is available by clicking below:


The IHI Dataset is outlined in the Health Identifiers Act 2014 as follows (a copy of the Legislation can be downloaded from the Oireachtas Website):   

  •  surname 
  •  forename
  • date of birth
  • place of birth
  •  sex
  • all former surnames
  • mother’s surname at birth
  • address
  •  nationality
  • personal public service number (PPSN), if any. The PPSN can be used to find an IHI number but an IHI number cannot be used to find a PPSN
  • date of death in the case of a deceased individual
  •  signature
  •  photograph
  • any other particulars (excluding clinical information relating to the individual) that, in the opinion of the Minister, are relevant to identifying the individual.

The HSE Health Identifiers (HIDs) Programme

The HSE has established the Health Identifiers (HIDs) Programme to:

1. Establish the registers that will contain the health identifier numbers

2. Design the business operational models for the maintenance of the registers

3. Design the technology systems required to support the operational models

4. Transition the registers and their maintenance into the appropriate service functions.

The IHI project has been established within the HIDs Programme to focus specifically on the IHI national register.

Separate projects will be established to focus on the national registers for Health Care Practitioners and Health Care Organisations within the HIDs Programme.

The IHI Project

The key IHI Project deliverables are:

1.The creation of a single national register of individual service users of Health and Social Care Services in Ireland

2.The design and establishment of a business operations function to provide service user identity services to Health and Social Care Systems in Ireland

3.The design and implementation of a technical infrastructure with appropriate external interfaces to support and maintain the national register (IHI system)

4.The design and implementation of technical interfaces enabling data exchange between the IHI system and selected consumer systems.

IHI Project Delivery Approach  

The IHI National Register has been created and populated with 6.2 million records from a trusted data source. A unique identifier (IHI number) has been generated and associated with each IHI record. These IHI records constitute the establishment of the IHI National Register.

A suite of interfaces will be delivered to:

•Allow a Health Service Provider to search for an IHI number for an individual

•Store the IHI number on the Health Service Provider system 

•Notify the IHI National Register of any updates to the individual IHI record that may have been notified to the Health Service Provider by the individual.

The initial Health Service Provider systems that have been selected for integration with the IHI system are eReferrals, the National Epilepsy Electronic Patient Record (EHR) System, Laura Lynn Hospice, Primary Care Reimbursement Schemes(PCRS) and selected General Practice Systems.

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