Published December 10th 2019
Life for Canberra and southern NSW GPs just got a whole lot easier with the introduction of a new, secure e-Referral system.

The launch of the new e-Referral SmartForm follows a successful eight-week pilot program with 16 practices.

Patients can now be referred electronically to Canberra Health Services (CHS) outpatient and community services in real time from within a GP’s practice management system (PMS) in one easy, seamless process.

The new standardised SmartForm is integrated within the latest versions of Best Practice, Genie and Medical Director PMSs making it easy for GPs to access and use.

Successful pilot programme

The launch of the new Smart Form follows a successful eight-week pilot programme with a select group of Canberra GPs. This was led by the CHS project team and supported by ACT Health and HealthLink.

The engagement with GPs across Canberra was extremely valuable to ensure that systems were functional on both ends within the infrastructure constraints.

Throughout the pilot period the CHS project team were proactive in resolving GPs concerns to ensure a safe, timely and efficient referral process. This resulted in making the SmartForm more user friendly and GPs having confidence in the process.

“It was important we trialled the system and listened to feedback from users, which we did. The feedback helped us modify and streamline the system and make it better for users, for example, resolving issues around attaching HTML documents, speed concerns and login problems,” the team says.

“For GPs, this should become the most efficient way to refer into CHS. For people receiving the e-Referral, it’s quick, secure and easy with all of the required patient information, which in the end is better for patient outcomes.”

CHS will continue to engage with the GP community to further evaluate and monitor this.


The CHS outpatient management team says the benefits of e-Referrals are massive, including saving GPs precious time.

It’s particularly important GPs know their e-Referral has made it to its intended location. With e-Referrals, GPs get an immediate acknowledgement from CHS that it’s been received, with a unique reference number. This is a small step towards a seamless digital referral process in the future.

The new SmartForm can be pre-populated with patient demographics, past medical and medication history, directly from the PMS, saving GPs time and hassle.

In addition, GPs can clearly see an accurate, up-to-date list of CHS outpatient and community services they can e-Refer to, making the process fast and efficient. The Smart Form includes a drop-down list of current CHS Specialists, Allied Health and Nursing Services.

GPs can also easily attach relevant supporting documents such as reports, letters and results that enables effective triage process and reduces delays.

Work has now commenced on taking advantage of the SMART in the SmartForm by developing service specific templates where they will add further to streamlining referral and triaging process.

If you would like to obtain access to the e-referral SmartForm, would like more information or have any questions, please contact HealthLink on 1800 125 036 or email

CHS has produced a handy FAQ sheet for GPs and a web page with quick start guides for different PMSs.