Individual Health Identifier (IHI) number

With the enactment of the Health Identifiers Act in 2014, residents and former residents in Ireland with a Personal Public Services Number (PPSN) were given an Individual Health Identifier (IHI) number.

It is used to uniquely identify each person engaging with the Health Service Executive and relevant social care agencies.

The IHI lasts for your lifetime. It is a number that is only used by healthcare staff and service providers and is never given to anyone else.

When registering for the COVID-19 vaccination your IHI was added to your record.

Benefits of the IHI

In the future, your IHI will be attached to your health records and will allow your health records to be found across different patient systems.

Future benefits of an IHI include:

  • patient safety - makes sure your health records are correctly linked together.
  • efficiency - helps us to find your records quickly.
  • enabling eHealth applications - allows us to link records together from different systems.
  • privacy - allows us to track who has been looking at your records.

How will the IHI be used?

Your IHI can be stored on your health services provider’s computer system or may be added to paper records if no electronic system exists. It will be used in your medical record at the health service provider that you attend.

Here is an example of how your IHI will be used in the future.

After you attend your GP, your IHI will be stored locally on your medical record whether paper or electronic. Any time your GP communicates with another health service provider on your behalf, your IHI will be included in that communication.

For example, should you require a blood test, your GP will include your IHI with this request. The hospital will return both your IHI and the result of your blood test to your GP. This allows your GP to safely confirm that the results relate to you.

IHI and your COVID-19 vaccine

You do not need to know your IHI to get your COVID-19 vaccine. 

The vaccination system will find your IHI when you give your personal details including your:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • address 
  • sex
  • PPSN number and COVID-19 vaccination 

These details will be used to help make sure that everyone who gets their COVID-19 vaccine is correctly matched to their vaccination record.

HSE Vaccine updates 

Data protection

The privacy and security of your medical records are not impacted by the IHI.

Read more about data protection for the COVID-19 Vaccine Information System.

2016 DPIA (An updated DPIA is currently in progress)

How long does it last?

The IHI lasts for your lifetime.

The Legal Basis for IHI

The Health Identifiers Act 2014 is the legislation that governs IHI. It means that any person, who has used, is using or may use a health and social care service in Ireland will be given an IHI.

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.[MM1] 

Healthy Identifiers Act 2014 (link)

Frequently Asked Questions

Download questions regarding the Individual Health Identifier (IHI) number here (PDF, size 917 KB, 21 pages)

How to access your IHI number

You will never be asked for your IHI as it is just a number used to help make sure the health service identifies you correctly.

We fully acknowledge that you are entitled to know your IHI number.

We are putting a process in place which will allow you to securely request it from the Health Identifiers Service.

It may take us some time to get your IHI number to you as this new process is currently being developed.

For more information, email the Health Identifiers Service: hids.info@hse.ie