Individual Health Identifier (IHI)

IHI is the number that is used to safely identify an individual using a health service in Ireland and their health information. An IHI will be attached to your health records and will allow your health records to be found across different patient systems.

The IHI is required for:

  • Patient safety
  • Improved patient care
  • Efficiency of health services
  • Critical for the provision of Technology and Transformation systems

Technical Overview

  • The IHI Technical Infrastructure has been operational since August 2016.
  • It consists of a central IHI Index which has been populated with 6.5 million records with IHI numbers assigned for current and previous residents of Ireland.
  • The central IHI Index has been configured with complex matching algorithms which allow for the searching and accurate matching of records using alpha, phonetic and other searches.
  • Consumers systems provide demographic data via interfaces to the Index and where the data meets the matching criteria threshold, the IHI number is returned.
  • It has been providing IHI numbers for all electronic referrals and other health systems such as PCRS, Immunisations, Cancer Screening and most recently for Covid services.

When a match is found, the IHI number is returned by several channels:

  • Real-time via a call to the IHI API
  • Contained within a HL7 message from which it can be harvested and stored
  • By provision of a bulk seeding file that can be loaded into the consumer system

Nine data items are enabled for demographic-based lookups to the IHI Index:

  • 4 core data items: First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, Gender
  • 4 additional data items: Address Line 1, Eircode, PPSN and Mothers Birth Family Name
  • 1 supplementary data item: Mobile Phone Number.
  • A minimum of all 4 core data items plus 1 additional data item must be provided in order to do a search against the IHI Index.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the IHI!

  1. What is your IHI for? Your IHI allows your clinicians to identify you and identify your health records.
  2. You have one! Everyone resident in Ireland availing of public services has been assigned an IHI. If you are living in Ireland, you probably have one.
  3. Your IHI is unique to you forever. Once an IHI is assigned to you, it is yours, even after you die.
  4. You don’t need to know your IHI. (Which is lucky since it’s 10 digits long).
  5. To find an IHI you must give at least 5 pieces of personal information; your first name, your surname, your date of birth and your gender and at least one other piece of information e.g. your address, your PPSN, your eircode or your mother’s birth surname.Clinicians use this information to search for your IHI on the Health Identifier Index.
  6. Your preferred name can be used to find your IHI. e.g James, Jim, Jimmy or Seamus.
  7. Your IHI is on your GP’s Digital Record for you; just ask your GP the next time you visit.
  8. Your IHI was used if you got a Covid vaccination and it is on your Covid vaccination record. You may recall being asked to confirm your information when receiving your vaccine.
  9. If you have attended a general hospital recently your IHI is probably on your Hospital Record.

Further information on the IHI is available here.

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