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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.

GPs and GP Registrars have the option to attend regional training delivered by Brisbane North PHN or national training delivered by the National IAR-DST Project Manager. The training objectives and outcomes are identical.

PHN training will include:

Brisbane North PHN training will have information about local referral pathways and service providers, and the RediCASE eReferral tool.

  • Workshop 1: 30 minute self-paced webinar (pre-reading). 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)

Workshop 1 (pre-reading)

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.

Wednesday 19 April 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register here

Friday 28 April 12.30 pm - 2.00 pm Register here

Thursday 4 May 6.00 pm - 7.30 pm Register here

Thursday 11 May 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register here

Thursday 18 May 7.00 am - 8.30 am Register here

Wednesday 24 May 6.00 pm - 7.30 pm Register here

Friday 2 June 12.30 pm - 2.00 pm Register here

Wednesday 7 June 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register here

Thursday 15 June 7.00 am - 8.30 am Register here

Friday 23 June 12.30 pm - 2.00 pm Register here

Thursday 29 June 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm Register here

Weekend sessions

Saturday 13 May 10.00 am - 11.30 am Register here

Saturday 13 May 2.00 pm - 3.30 pm Register here

Sunday 14 May 10.30 am - 12.00 pm Register here

Sunday 14 May 1.30 pm - 3. 00 pm Register here

Further training dates will be available throughout the year.

National training will include:

The national IAR DST training is workshops 1 and 2 combined so no self-paced webinar. GPs and GP Registrars who attend the national training will receive an email with Brisbane North PHN specific resources so they will not miss out.

Workshops (all times AEDT)

Tuesday 21 March 12.00 pm - 2.30 pm Register here

Saturday 25 March 8.00 am - 10.30 am Register here

GPs and GP Registrars will receive

  • $300 incentive payment*
  • *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 2023 (1 hour Reviewing Performance and 1 hour Educational Activities through RACGP and 2 hours CPD for ACRRM).

Contact us

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

Resources and links