Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2012 Contents 332 Australian Pharmacist April 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
One of the hats I wear has me working
deep in the land of eHealth where
some exciting developments are on the
way -- which means more acronyms,
abbreviations and more ways to IT
IHI stands for Individual Health Identifier
and, whether you knew it or not, you
already have one. In mid-2010, every
Australian citizen was assigned an IHI.
It's a 16 digit number, and if you want
to see yours log in to the Medicare
au, registration required) and it will be
displayed on the main page. You can
also see your IHI history, including who
accessed your IHI. The IHI is going to be
central to eHealth records, matching a
patient to an electronic record.
HIS or hers
No, I'm not being politically incorrect --
the Healthcare Identifiers Service (HIS)
is an electronic service provided by
Medicare which will return identifiers
such as an IHI. If information such as first
name, surname, Medicare number, date
of birth and gender are provided and
match the information that Medicare has,
the service will return the IHI number.
Access to the HIS is generally through
dispensing or prescribing software.
eHealth and IT
(identify thyself )
by Jason Bratuskins
Jason Bratuskins is a practising
community pharmacy proprietor with a
particular interest in the application of IT
to day-to-day pharmacy. He also works in
the pharmacy IT industry on a number of
e-health projects for Fred Health.
He can be contacted via email at
HPI-I and HPI-O
There are two types of Healthcare
Provider Identifiers -- individual (HPI-I) and
organisational (HPI-O). Again, whether you
knew it or not, every healthcare provider
already has an HPI-I assigned. It is also a
16 digit number, and to find your number
log into the AHPRA (www.ahpra.gov.
au) website. Organisational identifiers
need to be applied for by organisations.
HPIs link a health care provider to an
The National Authentication Service
for Health is a service that issues
credentials such as digital certificates.
These credentials confirm the identity
of the person or organisation using the
certificates, and also allow traceability of
digital transactions to trusted identities.
NASH will operate in the background to
our daily work, but its existence and use
should give a greater sense of confidence
and security when carrying out eHealth
The Australian Medicines Terminology
refers to the identification and naming
of medicines in clinical systems. An AMT
number uniquely identifies a medicine
so that different systems sharing
information will definitively identify the
same medicine. There are AMT numbers
that identify the medicinal product and
numbers that identify the trade product.
AMT is an extension to (look out, another
acronym) SNOMED CT, the Systemised
Nomenclature Of MEDicine Clinical Terms
which is an international standard for
No, it's not an acronym; I just forgot
to take off caps lock. Why do we
need all these identifiers? In July
2012, Australian citizens will be able
to apply for a Personally Controlled
Electronic Health Record (PCEHR). This
electronic record will contain medical
history, stored and shared in a network
of connected systems. It will bring
together multiple areas of health and
present them in a single view. In order
for these connected systems to link to
the same patient or the same medicine,
national identifiers used by every
participating system are required. That
is, when patient 12345 is referred to, it
definitively and always means the same
patient in every system.
These identifiers and systems are new
and evolving, and in a few months the
PCEHR will be available for everyone.
There will be much information coming
through about these eHealth initiatives
from government, and also from your
dispensing software vendor who will
enable the use of these systems in your
daily clinical work. Before that happens,
you can do some preparation to make
sure you are on board for the start of
Firstly, explore your IHI as an
individual. Next, log into the AHPRA
website to find out your HPI-I. Most
importantly, make sure you apply for
your pharmacy's HPI-O. Start at: www.
health-identifier/index.jsp, and be
prepared to spend a little bit of time on
it. Apply for a PCEHR when it's released
to see what the fuss is all about.
Finally, take a look at the work we've
been doing at: www.medview.com.
au to see a conformant medicines
repository (eventually feeding into
the PCEHR) which will for the first
time show a consolidated record of
prescribed and dispensed medications
for patients across community, hospital
and aged care settings.
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