update Australian healthcare providers with health identifiers will now be able to gain information on other providers via an online directory, Medicare has announced today.
An individual health identifier is a 16-digit number that Medicare allocated to every resident of Australia following the passing of legislation in July this year. The government intends to use this number as the foundation for the construction of a personally controlled e-health record. Healthcare providers and institutions were also issued with a number.
As part of its Health Professional Online Services portal, Medicare Australia has introduced new directory for healthcare professionals registered with a healthcare identifier. The directory of healthcare providers and organisations will include the name of the organisation and the address at a bare minimum. Providers and organisations will then be able to manage their information and add details such as contact numbers, alternate addresses and service details.
Human Services portfolio general manager Hank Jongen said that the portal is now a single online entry point for healthcare providers and organisations.
"It enables health professionals to access services at a time that is convenient for them," he said in a statement. "Over 1.5 million services have been accessed since [the Health Professional Online Services] was introduced in March 2009."
While individuals will not have access to the directory, those with online services can already see which organisations have accessed their individual health identifier.
Updated at 3:24pm, 9 December 2010: clarified that the new feature is for providers, not for individuals.