The new service will accurately identify people who receive healthcare in Australia and the people who provide healthcare, as well as the places where it is provided.
It is being developed to support progress towards establishment of the proposed national Shared Electronic Health Records System (SEHR).
According to the Commonwealth Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, the SEHR will have the potential to save lives and reduce costs.
“One of the key building blocks for the establishment of this system is the means for uniquely identifying patients and health professionals, which will ultimately reduce the possibility of information being sent to the wrong health professional or being assigned to the wrong patient,” said Ms Roxon.
Under the contract with NEHTA, Medicare Australia will be responsible for the design, building and testing of the UHI service.
The UHI service is a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiative.