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Smart Referrals overview

As defined by the Specialist Outpatient Strategy: Improving the patient journey by 2020, the Smart Referrals program supports clinical and business change through the streamlined creation and management of referrals to Queensland specialist outpatient services.

Smart Referrals allows those involved in patient care to better manage the patient journey, improve patient safety and reduce specialist outpatient wait times.

Transcript for Smart Referrals animation

Voice over: As part of the Queensland Government’s Specialist Outpatient Strategy, Queensland Health is tackling waiting lists across the patient journey from GP referral, to specialist outpatient care.

Almost 2 million referrals are received by Queensland Health services yearly, and most are received by post or fax. These may go to the wrong place or may not have all the information needed to facilitate effective patient care.

Coupled with the challenges experienced by GPs and their patients, much of Queensland Health’s referrals rely on manual processes.

Smart Referrals is creating a paperless solution that is simple, integrated and secure.

So how does it work?

A patient will visit their GP, and as part of the consultation the need for a referral to a specialist may be discussed. Under Smart Referrals the GP will access their practice management software, create an electronic referral and submit it to the health service.

Smart Referrals also features and integrated online directory, a listing of specialist public outpatient services, where and how they are offered, referring requirements and expected clinic wait time. This will give everyone a better sense of how long a patient may wait.

Smart Referrals also helps a GP by auto populating referral information and flagging anything that needs to be attached, so there’s nothing missing and no rework needed.

Smart Referrals makes it easy for GPs to track and follow up a referral, ensuring referrals are not lost or duplicated. The referral is securely submitted to the right place, where it is electronically processed and triaged according to its clinical urgency.

Smart Referrals also allows hospital and health service staff to create and submit referrals to any public specialist across Queensland.

So when will Smart Referrals be up and running? Parts of Smart Referral will be available in some hospitals throughout 2018 – 2019, with a plan to have it fully rolled out by 2020.

Check out the Queensland Health website for more information:

Program Components

Smart Referrals is made up of the following key components:

GP Smart Referrals
Provides seamless and integrated capability allowing GPs to create and submit electronic referrals from existing practice software

Referrals Service Directory
Provides details of public specialist services and the necessary clinical business requirements to support referral lodgement

Referral Lodgement and Tracking
Provides technical capability to facilitate digital lodgement and tracking referrals across the state

Smart Referrals Workflow
Provides digital capability to facilitate the seamless receipt, registration and triage of specialist outpatient referrals

Smart Referral Benefits

Smart Referrals benefit graphic

Smart Referrals will bring:

  • Safety and quality of care—enhanced quality of referral information, informs clinical handover, triage and treatment of patients.
  • Workflow efficiency—faster, streamlined referral management supports better patient outcomes.
  • Patient experience—enhanced quality of referral information reduces wait times.
  • GP experience—quicker and easier for GPs to refer.
  • Clinician experience—enhanced decision support information improves patient care.
  • Financial benefits—reduction in referral rework and avoidable appointments.

For more information regarding Smart Referrals, please contact

Last updated: 20 January 2020

Specialist outpatient strategy

The Smart Referrals program is part of the Specialist Outpatient Strategy: Improving the patient journey by 2020 (PDF, 2.77MB).

Read more about the Specialist Outpatient Strategy to find out how Queensland Health will improve the outpatient experience by 2020.