ID encryption - as a serviceEnigma offers this service, commonly to research organisations.
We generate our Encrypted NHIs using a highly secure encryption algorithm called ‘Rijndael AES256 bit encryption’ – a method which has been approved within FIPS by NIST (US Govt agency responsible for keeping secrets) as being suitable for ‘Top Secret’ document storage.
As such we felt it was also suitable for generating secret versions of New Zealand’s National Health Index number, the NHI. The approach we use is capable of forming the same encrypted output each time we perform it, and we’re able to make any number of different versions of these too.
NHIs take on the form XXX9999 – three letters and four numbers. One of these numbers is used as a checksum to try to limit the number of data entry errors, this means that for every real NHI, there are potentially 9 incorrect versions which should get rejected… Another way of looking at this is that the approach is capable of cutting out 90% of all data entry errors when appropriate validation is applied during everyday, normal use.
There are around 13.8 million, potentially valid, NHI strings which could be used in NZ. Only approximately 7 million of these have been assigned over time to the NZ population. There are currently approximately 4.5 million people living in NZ.
It doesn’t matter what form of identifier is used within any given country, there will always be a need to be able to anonymously link data from multiple different providers – for research. To do this you need two things; an established and wide-spread, implemented patient identifier, and the ability to anonymise it appropriately for it to be linked.
This is where we come in. – We have standard methods available to generate encrypted versions of that whole 13.8 million NHI list. We then become involved with the researchers, and the data sources as an independent third party who provides eNHIs and NHIs to each of them appropriately.
Our methods are outlined on the pages of this site.