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Initial Assessment and Referral - Decision Support Tool

New decision support tool to help you connect your patients with the right mental health support, quickly.

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GPs are often the first point of contact for people seeking mental health support. Patients often present with a range of interrelated factors that can make it challenging to determine the most appropriate level of care.

The Initial Assessment and Referral (IAR) is a decision support tool, to assist GPs (and other referrers) to find the most suitable level of care for patients, which can then be used to determine the appropriate service for the patient, at a local level. It provides a standardised, evidence-based and objective approach to assist with mental health care recommendations.

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Connect your patients with the right care as early as possible

The IAR guides clinicians to consider what information needs to be collected from patients, to conduct a patient-centred and holistic assessment.

Considerations include the availability of informal support (like family), life circumstances that may be impacting your patient, co-existing conditions, and the patient’s motivation to access supports. The information gathered is then used to recommend a service type and level of care (level of intensity) to help inform a referral decision made by the GP.

Your clinical judgement, combined with the IAR decision support tool, will ensure the person seeking support is directed to the most appropriate care – no matter where they sit along their recovery journey.

Why use the Initial Assessment and Referral tool

Improve your workflow and save time

Using this support tool will help improve the efficiency of the mental health consultation, by streamlining the collection of relevant information.

The IAR can also be found in the RediCASE eReferral form, which can be integrated with Best Practice and Medical Director software. The RediCASE eReferral form is also available as an e-link however it does not have the full integration functionality.

Consistency for patient experience

The IAR is being progressively introduced across federal and state mental health services. Widespread uptake of the IAR means there will be consistency in the approach to assessment, referrals and service provision across the sector.

Help you refer appropriately into local services

The IAR tool supports the stepped care approach to service delivery, which helps match people to the most appropriate services for their mental health needs.

The stepped care model comprises a continuum of interventions based on levels of resource intensity – from least to most intensive – matched to the individual’s needs. This approach also allows people to move easily between local services as their support needs change.

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TRAINING: Initial Assessment and Referral Decision Support Tool


Brisbane North PHN is now holding training sessions to help general practitioners and GP Registrars understand how to use the IAR decision support tool. The training will provide you with all the information you need to use the tool in a way that suits your practice. IAR-DST training is not mandatory.

Training will include

  • Workshop 1: 30 minute webinar (self-paced). Participants will need to complete this via an online learning platform.
  • Workshop 2: 1.5 hour webinar (Workshop 1 must be completed prior to Workshop 2)

GPs and GP Registrars will receive

  • $300 reimbursement*
  • *payment is available to GPs and GP registrars. The one-off payment is not available to other medical staff, clinicians or GPs working with Adult Mental Health Centres or Aboriginal Medical Services already funded by the Government, unless the training is outside of normal employed hours.
  • CPD points (4 points for RACGP; 2 hours CPD for ACRRM). In 2023 GPs will be able to claim 30 minutes Reviewing Performance and 1.5 hrs Educational Activities through RACGP.
Workshop 1
  • Visit the course landing page by using the following URL https://www.openlearning.com/national-iar-training/courses/iar-workshop-one-bnphn
  • Click the orange 'Join now' button.
  • Enter your email, password and full name.
  • In the pop-up, enter the access code: iar-workshop-one-bnphn_pxbrjuvijjwkorjq and click 'Join now' again.
  • If the access code doesn't work, check there is not an extra space after the last digit of the code. A space is sometimes automatically added when copy/pasting, and this will prevent the code from working.
  • Complete the registration form.
Workshop 2

Register for one session. Please do not register for Workshop 2 until you have completed Workshop 1.

Thursday 1 December 12.00 pm to 1.30 pm
Register in advance for this session - RSVP by Wednesday 30 November

Wednesday 14 December 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm
Register in advance for this session - RSVP by Tuesday 13 December

Contact us

Please contact Jess Latter iar@brisbanenorthphn.org.au or 07 3490 3484 if you have any questions about the IAR-DST or the IAR-DST training.

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