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 systems to give a complete medical history.

This may 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 - A Public Consultation for the Privacy Impact Assessment was conducted in March 2016 and extended to 8th April 2016 on request. This Public Consultation is now completed and the outcomes can be found at Privacy Impact Assessment Public Consultation

Health Service Provider Identifiers (Practitioners and Organisations)

An animation explaining the IHI is available by clicking below:



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 business 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 4,775,629 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 consumer system to search for an IHI number for an individual

Store the IHI number on the Health Service Provider consumer system 

Notify the IHI National Register of any updates to the individual IHI record that may have been notified to the consumer system by the individual.

Once operational, a hand-shaking protocol will maintain both the IHI National Register and the consumer system in synchronisation. 

The initial consumer systems that have been selected for integration with the IHI system are eReferrals, the National Epilepsy Electronic Patient Record (EHR) System, Laura Lynn Hospice and selected General Practice Systems.

IHI Dataset Items as per Health Identifier Act 2014

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.

Related Links:

Privacy Impact Assessment Public Consultation

Strategic Programmes

Strategic eHealth Programme