Retention classes

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A retention class is a named retention value that, when used as the retention setting for an object, specifies how long the object must remain in the repository. This value can be:

  • A duration after object creation. For example, a retention class named HlthReg-107 could have a duration of 21 years. All objects that have that class as their retention setting could not be deleted for 21 years after they’re created.
  • One of these special values:
    • Deletion Allowed (0)
    • Deletion Prohibited (-1)
    • Initial Unspecified (-2)

Retention class duration values use this format:


In this format, A represents the time at which the object was created. For example, this value specifies a retention period of one year, two months, and three days:


The duration specification can omit portions with zero values. For example, this value specifies a six-month retention period:


You can use retention classes to consistently manage data that must conform to a specific retention rule. For example, if local law requires that medical records be kept for a specific number of years, you can use a retention class to enforce that requirement.

Tenant administrators create retention classes for namespaces. When creating a class, the administrator specifies the class name, the retention setting, and whether HCP can automatically delete objects in the class when the retention period expires.

Note: Automatic deletion must be enabled for the namespace for objects under retention to be automatically deleted.

Each namespace has its own set of retention classes. You cannot apply a retention class defined in one namespace to an object in a different namespace.

A namespace can be configured to allow administrative users to increase or decrease class retention times and delete classes. Otherwise, the retention time for a class can only be increased, and classes cannot be deleted. In all cases, any change to a retention class affects the retention period of all objects in that class.

If a retention class is deleted, the objects assigned to that class have a retention setting of Deletion Prohibited (-1) and cannot be deleted.

If a new retention class is created with the same name as a deleted retention class, existing objects in the deleted class get the retention setting of the new class.

You can assign a retention class to an existing object using any namespace access protocol. With the REST API, you can assign a retention class to an object when you store the object in the namespace, thereby overriding the default retention setting.