The National Health Index (NHI) and immunisation

The National Health Index is a system used by public hospitals and other health and disability support services to assign an alpha-numeric identifier (the NHI number) to people who use their services.

Most people know the NHI number as their hospital number; it is the number on their clinical notes and on the hospital identity bracelets.

New Zealand’s health professionals have used the NHI for many years, and most people, including those born at home, now receive their NHI number at birth.

The NHI holds information on:

  • names and addresses
  • ethnicity, gender, date of birth
  • New Zealand resident status.

Health professionals use NHI numbers for clinical and administrative purposes. The main purposes of a NHI number are to identify you and ensure your information is correctly associated with your record. In the case of the NIR every vaccination event (and all other information held) is stored against a NHI number.

When an authorised health professional searches the NIR they are generally searching using the patient’s NHI number. It is therefore useful to know your child’s NHI number, especially if you are not visiting your usual health professional (your child’s NHI number should be recorded in their Well Child/Tamariki Ora My Health Book).

More information on the NHI can be found in the National Health Index section.

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