HPI-I vs. HPI-O: Understanding the puzzling eHealth language

| 28 Jul 2013
Understand the puzzling eHealth language

It’s inevitable that at some point, you will get caught up between HPI-Is, HPI-Os, PKIs and HPOS; tangled in the web that is NASH, NeHTA and DoHA; and become lost while trying to work out who’s your RO, OMO and who has registered for their PCEHR.

To help you get acquainted with the puzzling language behind Australia’s eHealth system, here’s a handy glossary of the common terminology, along with definitions and explanations.

ACD: Advance Care Directive
Providing a means for people to plan ahead for certain situations, these are life-management documents which people can complete in home, community, hospital and aged care settings.

AHPRA: Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
AHPRA is the organisation responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia. AHPRA partners with 14 National Boards to regulate health professions and more than 580,000 health practitioners.

ART: Assisted Registration Tool
Once your organisation is registered with the eHealth record system, assisted registration is a way for you to help your residents register for an eHealth record at the point of care. You can assist residents to register by confirming the resident’s identity and then submitting their details to the eHealth record system. To offer assisted registration your organisation must already have a HPI-O and be registered to participate in the eHealth record system.

CSP: Contracted Service Provider
An organisation that can act on behalf of a healthcare provider organisation. A CSP can access the HI Service and the eHealth record system on behalf of an organisation, in circumstances that may involve providing information technology services to communicate or manage health information.

DHS: Department of Human Services
The Commonwealth DHS is responsible for the development of service delivery policy and provides access to social, health and other payments and services.

DoHA: Department of Health and Ageing
The Commonwealth DoHA has a diverse set of responsibilities and aims to deliver better healthcare services for all Australians including the eHealth record system.

eHealth Record Provider Portal
Health and aged care providers can participate in the eHealth record system and authorise doctors, nurses and other appropriate users within their organisation to view resident and client records. With compatible clinical management software, this is easy. Without this software in place, you will need to access the eHealth record system using the provider portal in order to see the information in a resident or client’s eHealth record.

GSO: General Supporting Organisation
A general supporting organisation (GSO) assists in the delivery of healthcare in the eHealth space, but is not working as a healthcare provider organisation or contracted service provider.

HI Service: Healthcare Identifiers Service
A national system for uniquely identifying healthcare providers and individuals to ensure that the right health information is associated with the right individual. There are three types of Healthcare Identifiers: IHI, HPI-I and HPI-O.

HPI-I: Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual
A unique 16 digit number used to identify individual healthcare providers who deliver care in a healthcare setting. To be eligible for a HPI-I, an individual must provide healthcare and be registered with a national board.

HPI-O: Healthcare Provider Identifier – Organisation
A unique 16 digit number used to identify organisations that deliver care in a healthcare setting. To be eligible for a HPI-O, an organisation must provide healthcare-related services. There are two types of organisations that the HI Service recognises: seed and network.

IHI: Individual Healthcare Identifier
A unique 16 digit number that is automatically allocated to all individuals enrolled in Medicare, or who hold a Department of Veterans’ Affairs treatment card, as well as any others who seek healthcare in Australia.

HPD: Healthcare Provider Directory
A voluntary listing of registered healthcare providers and organisations as part of the HI Service. Here, you can search for providers by using either their unique identifier or contact details. It is designed to help facilitate communication, such as sending secure referrals, messages, discharge summaries and test requests for residents.

HPOS: Health Professional Online Services
Authorised users of the HI Service can gain access to Medicare Australia’s online services for health professionals, through HPOS. It provides access to information about your identity, eligibility under Medicare arrangements and information on payment of Medicare claims.

Medicare Locals
In 2011, the Australian Government established Medicare Locals to plan and fund extra health services in communities across Australia. There are now 61 Medicare Locals across Australia that are working with GPs and other primary health care providers to ensure all Australians, regardless of where they live, can access effective primary health care services.

NASH / PKI: National Authentication Service for Health / Public Key Infrastructure
NASH PKI certificates are used exclusively for the eHealth system and to send sensitive health information and messages securely. There are two NASH PKI certificates – one for individual healthcare providers and one for healthcare provider organisations registered with the HI Service.

A NASH PKI certificate for individuals is required to access the eHealth record system through the eHealth record provider portal; and use the NASH directory, which lists organisations who have an active NASH PKI certificate. A NASH PKI certificate for organisations is used to access eHealth records on the eHealth record system; use the NASH directory, which lists organisations who have an active NASH PKI certificate; and send secure messages.

NeHTA: National eHealth Transition Authority
A key organisation involved in eHealth. They are the lead organisation that is facilitating the transition to a connected eHealth system where every Australian is at the centre of their healthcare. NeHTA is jointly funded by the Australian Government and all State and Territory Governments.

NHSD: National Health Services Directory
A comprehensive and up to date national directory of health services and provider information. It includes both public and private health sector providers from all Australian states and territories.

OMO: Organisation Maintenance Officer
Both seed and network organisations will also need to identify an OMO. The OMO is also registered with the HI Service and acts on behalf of a seed/network organisation in its dealings with the System Operator. The OMO’s role is to undertake the day to day administrative tasks in relation to the HI service and the eHealth record system. Therefore, an OMO needs to be someone who is familiar with the IT system used by their organisation.

Participation Agreement
Healthcare provider organisations registering for the eHealth record system must enter into a participation agreement with the System Operator. The key purpose of the participation agreement is to set out obligations relating to the uploading of records, intellectual property arrangements, the allocation of liability between parties, and the processed for notifying key events and changes.

PCEHR: Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record
Since July 2012, people of all ages are able to register for a PCEHR. This is a secure, voluntary, electronic record that gives healthcare providers access to a summary of some of a person’s health information, making continuity of care easier and helping to contribute to improved treatment decisions and positive health outcomes.

Personal Access Code
A code generated by the individual that provides a nominated representative with access to an individual’s eHealth record.

RO: Responsible Officer
A seed organisation will identify staff for two key roles – one of which is the RO. An RO is registered under the HI Service and has authority to act on behalf of the seed organisation in its dealings with the HI Service and the eHealth record system. The RO is also responsible for registering a seed organisation to participate in the HI Service and for compliance with participation requirements. For large organisations, the RO is usually the Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operations Officer, and for small organisations the RO is usually a Practice Manager or the business owner.

Seed Organisation and Network Organisation
These are terms used by the HI Service to define the network structure or hierarchy of those organisations that provide or control the delivery of healthcare services.

A seed organisation must be the head organisation within the hierarchy, while network organisations form parts of the seed organisation. For example, a medical practice and single site aged care facility will likely have no network organisations but a large, multisite aged care facility or hospital with separate departments would be the network organisations. Both seed and network organisations will require their own HPI-Os.

System Operator
The entity responsible for establishing and operating the eHealth record system. Currently, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing is the System Operator.

Please share any we’ve missed in the comments section below and we will add them to the list.

(Image credit: Master Isolated Images)

Tags: doha, ehealth, healthcare provider organisation, PCEHR

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The iCareHealth Team


  1. Sanjay Basavaraj

    Hi Ellie,

    This is a short yet very informative article. Gives a very basic understanding of the whole eHealth system. Being working in the eHealth project I found this article very informative and helpful. Thank you for writing this.


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