Being able to identify an individual uniquely is essential for patient safety in the provision and management of high quality healthcare.
The National Health Information Strategy 2004 (NHIS) states that a system for unique identification within the health sector is required to promote the quality and safety of client/patient care(1). The NHIS proposed that unique identification within the health sector be based on the Personal Public Service (PPS) Number(2). Building a Culture of Patient Safety: Report of the Commission of Patient Safety and Quality Assurance (2008) also recommends the introduction of a unique health identifier (UHI) highlighting the contribution it could make to improved patient safety and quality(3). The forthcoming Health Information Bill will allow for the introduction of a UHI(4).