By  Dr Dorina Onoya  Idah Mokhele  Refiloe Cele  Nozipho Musakwa  Cornelius Nattey  Sharon Kgowedi  Kono A  Dr. Jacqui Miot  Dr Dorina Onoya  |  | 

South Africa’s need for a unique health patient identifier grows as the country presses toward implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) system (1). The Health Patient Registration System (HPRS) was conceived to register all patients attending the public health care services and generate a health patient registration number (HPRN), a unique patient identifier (ID) that would be used across health service sites to manage patient attendance and engagement. The Ideal Clinic Realisation and Maintenance (ICRM) program is the vehicle driving the institutionalisation of the HPRS
within public health facilities.

By the end of 2020 the National Department of Health reported that a total of 3 059 public healthcare facilities had implemented the HPRS and there were a total of 45 286 288 people registered on the system. However, at this stage, this is mainly utilised as a registration portal for the NHI than for routine patient data management.

Strengthening the HPRS implementation is essential for data-based longitudinal patient care and management to improve patient outcomes and prepare facilities to implement the upcoming NHI.

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