The HSE and eHealth Ireland welcome the commencement order for the Individual Health Identifier

The HSE and eHealth Ireland welcome the commencement order for the Individual Health Identifier (IHI) signed by the Minister of Health Mr Simon Harris yesterday, Tuesday 30th May 2017. This allows for the operational use of the IHI throughout the Irish healthcare system in line with the terms of the Health Identifiers Act 2014. 


An Individual Health Identifier is a number that identifies each person who has used, or may use a health or social care service in Ireland.  Each individual will be assigned their own personal number which is unique to them.  The main benefit of having an Individual Health Identifier is to uniquely identify each service user and therefore, improve patient safety by reducing errors that might happen, such as ensuring patients receive the correct medication, vaccinations, and treatment.


The IHI is established first and foremost as a patient safety mechanism.  It also allows for a new level of auditability and traceability for healthcare information by providing a record of who accessed information and when.  No medical information is contained within the IHI register. 


Welcoming the signing of the commencement order, John Hennessey, National Director for Primary Care said, “This allows for the work to fully implement the IHI to proceed. Making the IHI operational will be done in a planned and managed way over a period of time, to ensure that services are well prepared and that all safeguards are in place to protect people’s privacy.”


Richard Corbridge, HSE Chief Information Officer and CEO of eHealth Ireland said “This is a fundamental block in building a better health service through the availability of digital solutions. The IHI allows us to work with GP’s, hospitals, digital partners, patients, and service providers, to make the IHI available in as many care settings as possible. This will be done incrementally, with the patient’s interests at the centre of every decision along the way”.


Minister for Health Simon Harris said, "The bringing into operation of the relevant provisions in the Health Identifiers Act and the making of Regulations on accessing the National IHI Register and using the IHI, represent further tangible steps in my commitment to enhancing patient safety and developing the eHealth agenda necessary for a modern patient centred health service."


The Health Identifiers Act, 2014, provides the legislation for the Individual Health Identifier. In September 2015 a delegation order was commenced to allow the HSE to develop and operate the IHI on behalf of the Minister for Health. 


An IHI (number) has been created and assigned for Irish residents who have used or may use the health and social care services within Ireland.  People do not need to know their IHI to access services.  For more information on the IHI project and its progress visit

Last updated on: 31 / 05 / 2017