Health Practitioner Index questions and answers

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Background information on the HPI

What is the Health Practitioner Index?

The Health Practitioner Index (HPI) is a national database holding information to identify health practitioners. The HPI comprises three separate indexes for:

  • Practitioner – HPI-CPN (Common Person Number, eg 12ABCD)
  • Organisation – HPI-ORG (eg GA1234)
  • Facility – HPI-FAC (eg FB1032).

Why do we need an HPI?

In the past, health organisations have maintained their own indexes of practitioners, and this has resulted in a widespread duplication of effort. Having one national index removes this duplication and makes the up-to-date information available to the sector from one place. The HPI marks a significant advance for the New Zealand health sector, because:

  • it will establish a sound basis for identifying sector participants when communicating electronically with sector agencies
  • trusted identity and qualification information will be made available and can be used by sector agencies to conform to established health information security and privacy guidelines
  • conformance with the wider New Zealand eGovernment guidelines will be achieved as HPI technologies are integrated over the next few years into applications across the sector.

Which health practitioners will be included in the HPI?

The HPI will include the following health practitioners:

  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists, Dental Therapists, Dental Hygienists, and Dental Technicians
  • Dietitians
  • Medical Laboratory Scientists and Technicians
  • Medical Radiation Technologists
  • Podiatrists
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Osteopaths.

Will only registered practitioners be held on the HPI?

The HPI will include those practitioners who are registered with a registration agency (termed Responsible Authority in the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act) that has signed a Data Provision Agreement with the Ministry.

Responsible Authorities listed in the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act are:

  • Medical Council of New Zealand
  • Pharmacy Council of New Zealand
  • Dental Council of New Zealand
  • Midwifery Council
  • Nursing Council of New Zealand
  • Occupational Therapy Board of New Zealand
  • Physiotherapists Board
  • Medical Radiation Board
  • Psychologist Board for New Zealand
  • Medical Laboratory Science Board
  • Optometrists & Dispensing Opticians Board
  • Podiatrists Board
  • Dieticians Board
  • Chiropractic Board
  • Osteopathic Council.

As new registration agencies become recognised under the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act, their registrants will be added to the HPI.

Won’t the HPI just duplicate current systems in the sector?

The intention of the HPI is to make access as simple as possible by collating many sector databases into one national index. Reducing the duplication of systems and effort across the sector associated with sourcing and maintaining practitioner, organisation and facility data, is a main aim of the HPI. Another of the HPI’s objectives is to avoid duplication of management effort wherever possible.

Has this been done anywhere else in the world?

A ‘provider registry’ has been implemented in Canada. The British Columbia Provider Registry System is a trusted source of information on British Columbia healthcare providers and is available to authorised users. It currently contains basic profile information on physicians, pharmacists and registered nurses. An initiative to develop a Health Care Provider Index standard is currently under way in Australia.

How was the HPI developed?

The HPI was developed by the Ministry of Health in consultation with health sector stakeholders. A Sector Advisory Group with strong healthcare sector representation was convened to help guide the development of the HPI. At a later date, an HPI Sector Integration Advisory Group was established to advise the Ministry of Health on the sector integration and ongoing governance of the HPI.

The Ministry of Health developed requirements with input from a large number of sector organisations. A Proof of Concept trial was successfully completed. A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued and a vendor selected for the development of the HPI system.

Also, a Privacy Impact Analysis was completed to identify and address privacy aspects associated with practitioner data.

Will use of the HPI be mandatory?

The HPI makes available, in electronic form, information that is currently available from multiple sources. Organisations within the health sector will be free to use existing methods to authenticate and control access to their applications. It is expected that the HPI identity information, available from a trusted source, will prove a valuable resource as existing sector applications are improved and new applications are created.

Management of data held on the HPI

Which organisation will be responsible for the HPI?

The Ministry of Health will provide the computer system and the administration function for the HPI. The Ministry will enter into a Data Provision Agreement with each Data Source (Responsible Authority) and Data Access Deed with each Data Consumer. Data Sources supplying information to the HPI will also be responsible for maintaining the currency and accuracy of the information provided to the HPI and determining who has access to that information.

What information will the HPI hold about practitioners?

The HPI will contain information about practitioners such as identifier, name, contact details, practising status, qualifications, scope of practice and conditions on practice.

Where will the information on the HPI come from?

Practitioner data is obtained from trusted data sources, which are the Responsible Authorities listed in the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act (eg, the Medical Council for registered medical practitioners). Organisation and facility data are obtained from appropriate trusted sources of information. The data sources provide the data, determine who has access to that data, and may permit others (secondary sources) to update specific information.

How can we be sure the information on the HPI is up-to-date and accurate?

Considerable effort has been and will be directed toward ensuring the integrity of HPI data. Processes to maintain the currency and accuracy of HPI information have been developed to ensure HPI information is as up-to-date as possible. Data sources already collect and maintain data about their registrants. This data is supplied to the HPI and stored according to agreed data standards. Feedback processes are in place to work with the data source where inaccurate or out-of-date information is identified by a data consumer or by HPI administration processes.

Can practitioners update their own information?

Practitioners can request that the information held on the HPI on themselves be updated by contacting their Responsible Authority.

Can information on disciplinary actions or any limitation on scope of practice be removed?

Any currently effective limitations on Scope of Practice are required under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 to be made publicly available. Given this is public register information, it will be made available on the HPI.

However, once the expiry date of the limitation has passed, the record will be retained on the HPI but the information will not be disclosed to Data Consumers, unless access to that information is for a purpose approved by the primary source.

Can access to information be restricted?

Yes, a Data Source may restrict access to certain data attributes. This may mean no access to the data, or access being limited to authorised Data Consumers only.

If information is no longer current, will it be deleted from the HPI?

No, but data will have an effective start date and an end date. After the effective end date no one except the data source and the HPI Administrator will be able to access it. Access to this data by any other party would need to be approved by the data source.

How are possible duplicates entries on the HPI being resolved?

Processes have been implemented to identify possible duplicates entries when a new practitioner is entered on the HPI. The HPI Administrator works with data sources to resolve potential duplicates.

Impact of the HPI for key stakeholders

As a practitioner, can I continue to use my registered number?

Yes, you should continue to use the registered number assigned by your professional registration authority (Responsible Authority). In due course, Responsible Authorities may adopt the HPI Common Person Number (CPN) as the registered number for their registrants. In the future, the CPN is a unique identifier that you will be able to use for all healthcare transactions, even if you are registered with more than one Responsible Authority.

HealthPAC systems will manage the change over a later timeframe.

It is expected that sector information systems will be upgraded to use HPI identifiers over the next few years.

Will the Ministry provide any financial assistance for Data Sources?

Yes, a one-off payment is made to assist Data Sources (Responsible Authorities). The extent of this assistance is discussed and agreed with each Data Source.

As a Data Consumer, will I have to pay to access data on the HPI?

HPI data is available free of charge to health organisations who have signed a Data Access Deed. However, there are the usual costs associated with connecting to the national health information network.

Will the HPI help practitioners to access available health information?

At this point only organisations who have a Data Access Agreement with the Ministry will be able to access the HPI.

Will the HPI be integrated with Sector Information Systems?

HPI identifiers and information will be relevant to many sector health information systems. It is expected that sector systems will change to using the HPI identifiers over the next few years.

HealthPAC systems will manage the change over a later timeframe.

Benefits

What are the benefits for practitioners?

The main benefit is the use of one instead of many identifiers. Doctors and midwives, for example, frequently have different identifiers for ordering laboratory tests and for accessing test results. The HPI will minimise the number of identifiers that clinicians need to use and will allow access to clinical information in a much more seamless and transparent way than is currently available. Another key benefit for practitioners is improved access to health information stored in systems throughout the sector, and the sharing of health information with other practitioners and providers.

What are the benefits for patients and the public?

The HPI will include up-to-date information on practitioners, and provide a mechanism for authenticating the identity of practitioners and providing other key information such as practising status. This will assist administrators of health information systems to manage access security, and to manage the secure transfer of information between health practitioners. Initiatives related to the shared care of patients, such as referrals, discharge summaries and laboratory results, require the secure exchange of health information. There are significant future benefits in terms of improved privacy and security of health information.

What are the benefits for health provider organisations?

The chief benefit for health provider organisations is reduced compliance costs. Provider organisations incur significant administrative overhead costs in ensuring that correct identifiers are used in managing of various contracts and processing transactions. The HPI will enable the number of practitioner identifiers to be rationalised, thereby reducing administrative overheads. The ability to use the HPI to authenticate parties seeking to access provider health information systems is also a benefit for health provider organisations.

What are the benefits for central health funding agencies?

The main benefit is an improved ability to measure and analyse resources going towards the provision of health services by providers, and for workforce planning and development. Furthermore, a unique identifier for practitioner, organisation and facility will significantly enhance the ability of health agencies to plan services and manage contracts.

Privacy

What about practitioner consent for their information being available on the HPI?

Data Sources will notify their practitioners of the data that will be made available to the HPI and to whom it will be disclosed. A Privacy Impact Assessment, covering the privacy aspects of provision and use of data on the HPI, has been completed.

A Voluntary Code of Practice has also been developed.

Security

Who can use the HPI and what security will there be?

Only health sector users can access identifiers and other information on the HPI. Access to public register data will be provided to health-sector users via the secure environment of the national health information network. Certain (non-public register) data held on the HPI will only be made available to agencies approved by the sources of that data (Responsible Authorities), in accordance with strict security controls and according to the terms and conditions of a Data Access Deed.

Obtaining more information about the HPI

Who do I contact if I have any questions about the HPI?

Please email HI_Provider@moh.govt.nz

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