National Health Index

Managed by: Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand

View the NHI number and identity information of a health and disability service consumer.

Overview

The National Health Index (NHI) is an index that stores identity information — for example, a person’s name, address, gender and date of birth — and associates this information with a unique identifier, known as an ‘NHI number’.

Every person who uses health and disability services in New Zealand is assigned an NHI number. The purpose of the NHI is to ensure each person is accurately identified and linked with the correct health records. Clinical information is not recorded.

NHI API

For many healthcare providers, access to the NHI is read-only.

The NHI API includes the following operations.

Using a known NHI number, a GET Request is sent to the NHI, the request is validated and returns the patient data associated with the NHI number in the request.

Returned results include a range of demographic data required to confirm identity — for example, name, gender, ethnicity, date and place of birth, address and New Zealand citizenship status. If the requester has the appropriate permissions the patient’s enrolled general practice and contact details, mobile, home phone and email are also included.

A SEARCH Request is used when the NHI number is not known. The request is validated and data of patients matching the search criteria is returned in order of relevance.

Search parameters include NHI number, name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, address, and age range.

A VALIDATE request is used when the NHI number and demographic details are known, but the requestor is not authorised to retrieve NHI details or they only need a match / no-match response.

Validate parameters include NHI number, name, date of birth, gender, place of birth, and address.

An UPDATE request is used to update patient NHI information.

Using a valid NHI number and completing user authentication, an update is sent to the NHI repository via an approval channel. The request is validated, and the NHI patient data updated.

Update functions include preferred name, residential address and postal address.

Who can use this API

Health providers listed in Schedule 2 of the Health Information Privacy Code may access the information in the NHI.

This includes: 

  • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) 
  • Department of Corrections Health Services  
  • Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand 
  • Health Practitioners 
  • Hospitals 
  • Independent Practitioner Associations  
  • MedicAlert Foundation — New Zealand Incorporated  
  • Manatū Hauora — Ministry of Health   
  • New Zealand Blood and Organ Service  
  • New Zealand Defense Force Health Services  
  • Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand  
  • Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) 
  • Maori Health Authority 
  • Ministry for Disabled People 
  • Any health agency that has a contract or is funded by the above list to provide health or disability services.

Health Information Privacy Code 2020 — Office of the Privacy Commissioner(external link)

Te Whatu Ora — Health New Zealand assigns appropriate permissions and monitors and audits the actions of health provider use of the NHI.

Example use cases

The below lists a few example outcomes that can be achieved when using the NHI API.

  • Check that you’re referring to the right person when communicating with another healthcare provider.
  • Make sure you use the right NHI number for a person.
  • Lookup the NHI record for a patient using their NHI number.
  • A patient can update their preferred name in the NHI via their patient portal, without having to go through their general practice.
  • A health provider can update their patient's name and address detail in the NHI.

API type

REST API

  • All REST API endpoints adhere to Fast Healthcare Interoperable Resources (FHIR) interoperability standards. 

SOAP API

  • These are legacy APIs. We recommend the use of the SOAP APIs where FHIR APIs are not yet available.

Technical

FHIR documentation.

NHI Implementation Guide(external link)

SOAP documentation.

NHI Interfaces | Ministry of Health NZ(external link)

Onboarding and implementation

To get started, complete the online onboarding request form. You will need to provide information about your organisation and the application you will integrate with.

Onboarding Request form(external link)

Once your onboarding request has been approved, you will be provided with the information to start integration. The onboarding team will be in touch if further information is required.

If you require help or have any questions regarding the onboarding process, please contact our team by completing a general enquiry form.

General enquiry form(external link)

Learn more

Health Information Privacy Code 2020 — Office of the Privacy Commissioner(external link)

National Health Index — Ministry of Health(external link)

National Health Index and Medical Warnings System statement of use — Ministry of Health(external link)

National Health Index questions and answers — Ministry of Health(external link)

NHI information for health providers — Ministry of Health(external link)