Introduction to the Client Registry - ECR.01

Last updated on February 27, 2019

The Client Registry is the central repository of demographic information for anyone accessing healthcare services in British Columbia (BC).  It stores a Personal Health Number (PHN) for every person that receives a healthcare service in BC as well as the corresponding patient demographics, such as name, date of birth, gender, and address.

Authorized users accessing the Client Registry can:

  • Find a person’s PHN and confirm health insurance eligibility
  • Confirm a person "documented/card" identity, which is established by the issuance of the BC Services Card
  • Find a patient’s demographic information (e.g. name, date of birth, and address) and confirm MSP eligibility by using PHN
  • Update demographic information, if the patient exists within the Provincial Client Registry
  • Generate a PHN for a new client/newborn; or
  • Find related identifiers (PHN, MRN, etc.) to support clinical integration i.e. BCMI, UCI and CareConnect

Note: Terms such as client, person, individual, or candidate are commonly used regarding the Client Registry and may be used to refer to your patient.

Important Facts

The PHN is:

  • a unique, numerical, lifetime identifier used to specifically identify an individual client who has had any interaction with the B.C. health care system
  • assigned to, and used by, only one person
  • mandatory for every person receiving a health care service in B.C.
  • not an indication of Medical Service Plan (MSP) eligibility or benefit status for health care services in B.C.
  • recorded on all health care service records
  • registered in, and assigned by, the Client Registry; and
  • used to find a patient's identity in the Client Registry

The Client Registry:

  • contains records for anyone who has received health care services in the province including, individuals who do not have active MSP coverage or who are visitors to B.C.
  • does not contain clinical information:
    • information such as prescribed medication is stored in PharmaNet, and
    • results from lab tests are stored in the Provincial Laboratory Information Solution (PLIS)
  • does not update other government information systems (e.g., MSP)
  • is accessed and updated by many health care professionals including those in B.C. health authorities and medical practices
  • provides all authorized users access to the same client information; and
  • supports access to the Electronic Health Record (PharmaNet, PLIS, and the Provincial Diagnostic Imaging System)


Many health care professionals use the Client Registry, and as such, it is critical that the same rules be followed when updating client demographic information.

All authorized users are responsible for:

  • confirming client information is accurate
  • updating the Client Registry when provided with new patient information; and
  • handling client information through appropriate privacy and security practices


For questions or clarification of the Client Registry education materials contact the Client Registry Administrator at: