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HealthInfo Canterbury

Patient portals

Patient portals are secure websites where you can manage and keep track of both your own and your whānau/family's health. They are described as "internet banking for your health" and are increasingly being offered by general practices throughout New Zealand.

There are several patient portals being used and different general practices use different sets of features. Your general practice’s patient portal may allow you to:

Ask your GP practice if they have a patient portal and if they do, what services they offer through the portal.

How to sign up for a patient portal

If your GP practice offers this service, they will get you set up with a secure username and password.

After signing up, you’ll have access to a range of different tools you can use to manage your health. Depending on what your GP has included, you could do anything from checking your medical records to getting prescription repeats.

When you’re finished using your portal, you simply log out of your account.

If you sign up for a patient portal you can opt out at any time.

What technology you need to use a patient portal

You can use your patient portal on a smartphone, laptop, tablet or personal computer. If you have an email address and access to the internet, you can see your portal anywhere at any time.

Patient portal privacy

Your general practice already has systems in place to make sure your information is kept private and confidential. When they introduce a patient portal their security systems are reviewed to ensure your health information remains secure. An audit trail will show who has accessed the portal to make sure your information has been seen only by staff who are allowed to see it.

Keep your password as safe as your electronic banking password.

If you want someone else to see your health information

If you want to share access to your online health information with a caregiver or whānau/family member, talk to your GP. They can grant another person access by using a separate login and password.

You can withdraw permission at any time.

Access to your child's health information

If you are a parent you can access the health information for your child if they are under 16 years old. If they're 16 you're unlikely to be granted access unless there's a clear reason, such as your child has an intellectual disability or they have given you clear authorisation.

When not to use a patient portal

Don't use a patient portal when you need immediate medical advice – in an emergency, call 111.

While you can see your health record and lab results and request repeat prescriptions through a patient portal, you still need to attend your regular GP visits and speak face-to-face with your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns about your health.

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Adapted from Health Navigator by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created August 2021.

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