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WHO South East Asia J Public Health. 2019 Sep;8(2):83-86. doi: 10.4103/2224-3151.264851.

Working towards a master patient index and unique identifiers to improve health systems: the example of Myanmar.

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United Nations Children’s Fund East Asia Pacific Regional Office, Bangkok, Thailand
SantéSuite Inc., Toronto, Canada
SantéSuite Inc., Hamilton, Canada
Ministry of Health and Sports, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
United Nations Children’s Fund, Yangon, Myanmar


In the health systems of many countries, there is neither a requirement to collect a minimum set of demographic information during patient registration nor a standard way of identifying patients. This impedes the provision of integrated, good-quality care for individual patients and, at the system level, prevents generation of the high-quality data necessary for effective management and continuous improvement. Assigning each patient a unique identifier (UID) to create a master patient index (MPI) is therefore essential to ensure data interoperability across all the points of patient care within a health system. Although advances in technology are shifting the boundary between civil registration and personal identification, the additional value of an MPI/UID system lies in the technical and operational capacity to ensure that clinical data are safely and securely managed. Moreover, operationalization of MPI/UID data enables the establishment of an evidence-based, constantly improving “learning health system” with feedback loops that allow measurement, evaluation and visualization of performance over time. The Ministry of Health and Sports of Myanmar is actively engaged in a multistakeholder collaborative process working towards a nationwide MPI/UID system. Demonstration pilots are planned for both online and offline modes of operation for HIV/AIDS, mother and child health (including eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis) and hospital settings, which are expected to open up the potential for expansion to all health interventions and facilities. With the implementation of the MPI/UID system under way in Myanmar, the Ministry of Health and Sports is laying the foundation to put individuals at the centre of care and deliver a lifelong service for all.


civil registration system; digital health; master patient index; Myanmar

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