All Patients To Receive Unique Number To Help Patient Safety

All patients using Health and Social Services care in Ireland are to receive a unique number to help patient safety, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has announced.

An Individual Health Identifier is a unique, non-transferable number assigned to all people using health and social care services in Ireland, which will last for their lifetime. Its purpose is to accurately identify the person, enabling health and social care to be delivered to the right patient, in the right place and at the right time.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said: "The Individual Health Identifier will be a major step forward in modernising our health service. It will allow us to follow patients and staff as they move through the health service in a way we currently can't. This will improve patient safety, reduce duplication and errors, and give us a huge amount of new data that we can use to make services more efficient and improve planning."

HIQA's Acting Director of Health Information Rachel Flynn said: "Individual health identifiers are the cornerstone of eHealth systems and are key for implementing electronic health records and eHealth solutions such as ePrescribing. These electronic systems will greatly improve patient safety. HIQA has developed these Standards to support the introduction of health identifiers into the Irish healthcare system by providing Standards that the health identifiers operator must put into practice.

"We have developed these Standards in partnership with a public consultation to support the implementation of the new identifiers. The feedback from the public consultation was extremely positive and highlighted the need for information governance and management of the identifiers. The final Standards were approved by the Board of the Authority last week and submitted for approval to the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar. The Standards were also issued to the Chief Information Officer of the Health Service Executive (HSE), Richard Corbridge."

The Standards present a broad set of basic requirements that underpin the introduction of Individual Health Identifiers in Ireland and will guide the health identifiers operator to establish and manage this national database.


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