INS French eHealth Identity

The INS is the unique and permanent national identifier for health that allows to safely link health data to the patients in order to facilitate the sharing of reliable information between professionals.

Identité Nationale de Santé (INS)

Flagship of the eHealth roadmap, the use of the INS to access and input health data has been compulsory since 1 January 2021.

new decree (in French), published on 08/06/2021, approved three major documents:

  1. a ‘National eHealth ID Reference Document’ (v2) which set outs the modalities for using the INS: National eHealth ID reference document (in French).

Two annexes to this reference document:

  1. a guide to incorporate the INS into products aimed at software providers. It contains detailed functional specifications concerning the modalities for using the INS remote service and for accessing and inputting health data using the INS: INS - Implementation guide (in French);

  2. a national reference document pertaining to best INS security practices aimed at health and social care professionals and establishments: INS best security practices  national reference document - RNIV 0 - Essential points (in French).

Accessing and inputting health data using the INS will allow to drastically reduce errors in identifying patients.

A unique and unchanging ID also facilitates the sharing of data between all those involved in caring for and monitoring the patient condition, as well as contributing to the quality and safety of treatment.

The INS originates from national reference bases. It contains all the digital information provided by the INSi remote service and is made up of:

  • the INS ID number (which corresponds to the individual’s social security number);

  • the five components of the INS: birth name, first name(s), date of birth, sex, place of birth.

For the vast majority of users, the INS number matches the social security number used for the reimbursement of treatment costs. But in the case of children, for example, the social security number used for reimbursement is generally the number of one of their parents and not the child’s own ID number.

Some further clarifications might be useful at this point: persons born in France are allocated a number at birth. This is called the NIR (Numéro d’Identification au Répertoire des personnes physiques). Persons born abroad are allocated an NIR after they have formally registered with the relevant social security bodies. It is this NIR that we use as the INS number (national eHealth ID).

So that it can be fulfill its role, the INS has to be qualified, and in order to do this, two conditions need to be met:

  • the person’s identity needs to have been validated in accordance with the standards set out in the INS good security practices national reference document;

  • the INS must have been retrieved, or verified, via the INSi remote service.