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This page provides background information to assist healthcare organisations to register with the HI Service and the My Health Record system.


HI Service and Healthcare Identifier types

The Healthcare Identifiers (HI) Service is a national system for uniquely identifying healthcare providers, healthcare organisations and individuals receiving healthcare. The HI Service is a foundation component of all national digital health products and services, including My Health Record. Healthcare identifiers help ensure individuals and healthcare providers have confidence that the right information is associated with the right individual at a particular point of care.

Individual Healthcare Identifier (IHI) — identifies a patient (individual) receiving healthcare. An IHI uniquely identifies individuals who receive healthcare, including Australian citizens, permanent residents and visitors to Australia.

Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual (HPI–I) — identifies an individual healthcare provider who provides healthcare, such as general practitioners, allied health professionals, specialists, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, among others.

Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation (HPI–O) — identifies the healthcare provider organisation where healthcare is provided, such as hospitals, medical practices, pathology or radiology laboratories and pharmacies.

Why use Healthcare Identifiers?

Healthcare identifiers can be used in health related information to clearly identify the patient, the treating health professional and the organisation where healthcare is provided. This helps reduce the potential for errors with healthcare related information and communication, and gives confidence that the right information is being associated with the right individual.

Healthcare identifiers are also the foundation for other government initiatives, such as the My Health Record system.

Understanding how your organisation will be structured

All healthcare provider organisations wishing to participate in the My Health Record system must first be registered with the HI Service. Once registered, healthcare organisations are issued with a unique 16-digit HPI-O number. 

Choosing seed or network

How you register with and set up your organisation in the HI Service will depend on the specific nature and needs of your organisation. For the majority of healthcare organisations, a single Seed HPI-O structure will apply.

For larger and more complex organisations (for example, a hospital with multiple departments), you will need to consider how your organisation should be structured in the HI Service before applying. In the instance of a hospital, the hospital may opt to register as a seed organisation with one or more departments registered as Network Organisation(s). For guidance choosing whether to create a Seed or Network organisation, see the section below titled 'Guidance for Choosing your Organisation’s HPI-O Structure'.

Please note that regardless of your HPI-O structure, the first step is to register a seed organisation.

If you are not sure whether to register your organisation as a seed or network, contact the HI Service enquiry line on 1300 361 457 or visit contacts for healthcare professionals for help.

Seed organisations

Seed Organisations are entities which provide or control the delivery of healthcare services. Within a network of healthcare organisations, the seed organisation is the principal entity of the hierarchy. Examples of seed organisations could include a sole practitioner, small practice, aged care facility, hospital head office, aged care head office. 

In more complex situations, a series of network organisations might be established beneath the seed organisation. A complex HPI-O structure may be necessary where different levels of access to the My Health Record system for the seed organisation and its network organisations are required; where there is more than one system to send and receive electronic messages; and/or where more than one listing is required in the Healthcare Provider Directory (HPD).

Network organisations

Network organisations stem from the Seed Organisation. They commonly represent different departments or divisions within a larger complex organisation (e.g. a Hospital or Multi-disciplinary Healthcare Practice). They can be separate legal entities from the Seed Organisation, but do not need to be legal entities in their own right. 

Access flags

Access flags are a key component of the My Health Record system’s access control mechanisms, supporting the individual’s capability to restrict the healthcare organisations that are able to access their My Health Record. The level of detail for this capability is established when a healthcare organisation sets access flags. Access flags are set by healthcare organisations in the My Health Record system (not in local systems). When a healthcare organisation is involved in the care of an individual (and, as a result, is added to the access list for the individual’s My Health Record), access flags determine if any other associated healthcare organisations are also added to the access list for the individual’s My Health Record. 

Access flags do not prevent the sharing of information that has been downloaded from an individual’s My Health Record. Downloaded information is subject to existing laws and professional obligations. For example, if an access flag is associated with a hospital, an individual who has chosen to restrict access to their My Health Record has the capability to allow access to authorised users within that particular hospital. Similarly, if an access flag is associated with a group of facilities (for example, a group of mental health institutions) then the individual would have the capability to limit access to authorised users within that group. In the case of a GP practice, an access flag, for example, may be associated with the practice. This enables the individuals who have chosen to restrict access to their My Health Record to allow access to that practice, thereby enabling access by authorised users within that practice.

Access flags are set up when registering the organisation for My Health Record.

Practice Incentives Programme (PIP) eHealth Incentive

In addition to the above-mentioned steps, organisations applying to receive the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) from Medicare will need to complete these additional steps in order to be eligible to receive the incentive:

  • Implement data records and clinical terminology (medical vocabulary).
  • Obtain and actively use Secure Message Delivery (SMD) product.
  • Obtain and actively use Electronic Transfer of Prescription (eTP) product.

Other healthcare organisations wishing to take full advantage of available digital health products can also complete any/all of these three additional steps.

For more information on PIP, visit the Practice Incentives Program page.