All Australians will have a Healthcare Identifier number from tomorrow, despite the legislation surrounding the identifiers only passing late last week.
The Department of Health and Ageing today confirmed to ZDNet Australia that everyone would be assigned an identifier by tomorrow, matching the government's original 1 July roll-out date.
"It is planned that identifiers for individuals will be allocated within the Healthcare Identifier system (run by Medicare Australia) on 1 July 2010," the department said. "Consumers do not need to do anything for this process to occur."
As part of the national professional registration process, health providers that are registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law will also be given a number in the Medicare-run system from tomorrow.
Once this is complete it is then up to the providers to decide how they will incorporate the numbers in their own systems, if their patients choose to use the numbers provided.
"It is expected that this wider roll-out will be incremental over a period of time," the department said. "To support this process, the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) is developing an Implementation Plan for Healthcare Identifiers in close consultation with key stakeholders and has just completed public consultation on the draft Implementation Approach as part of this process."
Legislation surrounding the creation of an optional e-health record that would utilise these new identifier numbers has yet to be created by the legislative council.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Nicola Roxon revealed that as a part of its $466.7 million investment in e-health in this year's Federal Budget, the government will be developing a portal that patients can log into to see information contained on their e-health records, but Roxon said it could be up to two years before this system was in place.