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Recommendations for a Unique Health Identifier for Individuals in Ireland

Status: Published on

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 (NHIS) states that a system for unique identification within the health sector is required to promote the quality and safety of client/patient care. The NHIS proposed that unique identification within the health sector be based on the Personal Public Service (PPS) Number(1). 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(2). The forthcoming Health Information Bill will allow for the introduction of a UHI(3).