Status: Published on

This consultation is now closed

  • Since 25 May 2015
What is this public consultation about?

The Health Identifiers Act 2014 means that any person, who has used, is using or may use a health and social care service in Ireland will be given an individual health identifier (often shortened to IHI), a number which safely identifies them. The Health Identifiers Act 2014 does not change the current way health service providers share your medical records. Your health information is considered to be personal data under the Data Protection Acts and the rules of data protection still apply. The Health Identifiers Act 2014 also means that any health services provider who provides health and social care services in Ireland will be given a health services provider identifier (often shortened to HSPI), which uniquely identifies them (see Appendix 1 for more details). The HSPI will be given to both healthcare organisations and healthcare professionals. The Health Identifier Act 2014 allows the Minister to delegate specific functions under the act to the Health Service Executive. A business unit within the Health Service Executive (HSE) will be set up to manage your health identifier record, which consists of your IHI and other personal data. This business unit will be known as the ‘health identifiers operator’.

How is HIQA involved?

The Health Information and Quality Authority (the Authority) has developed draft information governance and management standards to support the introduction of health identifiers into the Irish health and social care system. Implementing these standards will promote trust among service users and health service providers that the national registers have been established in accordance with the law and in line with international best practice. In turn, this creates confidence that health service providers can be uniquely identified and can uniquely identify the service users to whom they are providing services, which ultimately leads to improvements in patient safety.

What is in the public consultation document?

The public consultation document lists the information governance and management standards that should apply when IHIs are introduced. You will be assigned an IHI when you use a health or social care service in Ireland. Therefore, it is important that you: know that health identifiers are being implemented understand why having an individual health identifier is important understand that the operator of the registers is obliged to put information governance and management practices in place, which will protect the privacy, confidentially and quality of your health identifier record.

How will you use my comments?

Following the consultation, we will analyse the public submissions and as a result may make further amendments to the document in order to finalise the standards.

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