Individual health identifier (IHI) is a unique 16 digit number used in Australia to identify an individual for health care purposes.
In February 2006 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a national approach to developing, implementing and operating systems for healthcare identifiers for individuals and healthcare providers as part of accelerating work on a national electronic health records system to improve safety for patients and increase efficiency for healthcare providers. In 2008 COAG reaffirmed this decision and agreed to universally allocate a unique identifying number to each individual healthcare recipient in Australia.
Communication of health information is a vital part of effective healthcare. The accurate identification of individuals is critical in all health communication. Mismatching of patients with their records and results is a documented problem for the health system and a clear link has been established between avoidable harm to patients and poor medical records management.