Medicare number and card will soon link the patients’ medical records across health providers, under the US$98 million Unique Healthcare Identifier (UHI) program which is being developed by the National E-Health Transition Authority. The deadline of the project of January 2010 for completion of project’s design and build. The work has been funded by Council of Australian Governments and has been directed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Council (AHMC). In both public and private sectors although, health care providers including doctors, pharmacists, community clinics and hospital administrators, will be issued with highly secure smart cards using PKI-based identity verification, consumers’ individual healthcare numbers (IHIs) will be accessed by linking through the old Medicare number.
The planned National Authentication Service for Health (NASH) will manage the stronger credentials for medical professionals and there will be made an extension of Medicare’s existing arrangements to securely identify doctors accessing the agency’s systems for claiming or payment transactions. Individual healthcare identifiers have been touted as a key building block in the nationwide shift to e-health systems, with the free-flowing exchange of people’s health records set to revolutionise patient care through improved safety and quality outcomes, together with greater efficiencies, cost savings and a wealth of new opportunities through telemedicine, remote monitoring of chronic disease and public health surveillance. Eventually, the plan is for each person to have an individual e-health record, which holds their personal details; a summary health profile that can be shared with the person’s permission between treating doctors; event summaries such as hospital discharge reports, care plans and test results, and a self-care management record where people can add their own material.