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How is my health information stored?

In the Southern district, much of your health information is stored on a secure digital system that allows crucial information to be shared by key health professionals.

How is my health information stored?

Most of your clinically important information is held as a regional electronic record. The hospital information is part of Health Connect South which is run by Canterbury DHB. This is joined to a summary of information from general practices and pharmacies in a system called HealthOne managed by the Primary Health Organisation in Canterbury, Pegasus Health. These systems are integrated and the security is regularly tested and updated. Every single access to your file access is tracked and auditable.

Some more specialised information is stored locally by Southern DHB, again using secure and auditable systems.

Your electronic health record

Across the South Island, authorised health professionals including hospital staff, GPs and pharmacists have access to a shared patient records system, HealthOne. This means that while treating you, they will have access to selected relevant information about you that might include:

  • conditions you have
  • your test results
  • medications you are on
  • any allergies you may have
  • correspondence between services – such as clinic letters and discharge summaries.

Please note that different health care providers moved to storing information electronically at different times. This means older information about you may not be contained on this file.

Some mental health information is held on your electronic record. In order to see this a clinician must confirm that it is necessary to do so as part of your care. All records of access are logged and can be audited.

These shared electronic records enable better, safer care, as this information will be available even if you are unable to communicate. It also means you do not need to repeat yourself to every person involved in your care, or remember all the details.

You can choose to opt out of your record being part of HealthOne by: 

  • calling freephone 0508 837 872
  • emailing privacy@healthone.org.nz

Or go to www.healthone.org.nz for further information.

You can also ask the particular items in your GP record are not shared into HealthOne by talking with your GP.

How can I access my records?

To see the information that is held about you on HealthOne, please ask at your general practice.

Some general practices have electronic portals, where your information is stored. Please ask your practice about how to access these.

Records held at Dunedin or Southland Hospitals can be accessed by making a request to patient.affairs@southerndhb.govt.nz

How long are my records held for?

Under the Public Records Act 2005, health information must be retained for the applicable period set out in the General Disposal Authority for DHBs promulgated under the Act. 


District health boards are subject to the General Disposal Authority (DA262) for DHBs 2006. The Disposal Authority and the Disposal Standard (issued under the PRA 2005, section 27) June 2010, set out specific retention times and specify minimum requirements for each category of health record and are available on the Archives New Zealand website.


The policy of retaining integrated health information for a minimum of 10 years after the last intervention for the main clinical record was adopted by Southern DHB in 2017 to achieve agency-wide practice.


Exceptions for longer retention include:

  • Paediatric records
  • Maternity records
  • Clinical trial/study
  • Radiotherapy records
  • Mental health records
  • Psychometric tests (raw data)

Records which are deemed to be of 'historical value' are to be retained and may be transferred to Regional Archives. They include (patient) records produced prior to 1946.


Note: To access material held at the NZ Archives or the Hocken Library, in Dunedin, staff must obtain written permission from the Patient Affairs Office, or Psychiatric Records Office at Dunedin Hospital or the privacy advocate Clinical Records or Mental Health Records Office at Southland Hospital.