ISBAR - Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation

ISBAR (Identify, Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendation) is a mnemonic created to improve safety in the transfer of critical information. It originates from SBAR, the most frequently used mnemonic in health and other high risk environments such as the military. The “I” in ISBAR is to ensure that accurate identification of those participating in handover and of the patient is established.

SA Health is using ISBAR as a tool to aide the safe transfer of patient information in clinical handover. It is generic aide and should be adapted to fit the clinical context. Adapting ISBAR for the clinical context is an opportunity for the health care team and patients to decide what essential information should always be handed over (eg estimated blood loss in the handover of a surgical patient).

IPhone/iPad app

The ISBAR application is available to download free from ITunes app store with consideration to making it available to other Android platforms as a subsequent phase.

The application provides clinicians with handover prompts for a variety of clinical handovers including:

  • medical
  • surgical
  • mental health
  • obstetrics and gynaecology
  • paediatrics
  • deteriorating patient. 

The app enables clinicians to develop individual handover prompts for other specialties, consistent with the flexible standardisation implementation methodology.


Fact sheetISBAR factsheet thumbnail

The patient’s concerns or input into the clinical handover process should be considered in the adaptation of how ISBAR is to be used. An example of how an obstetric unit has created a minimum dataset of information for clinical handover using ISBAR can be found on the ISBAR fact sheet (PDF 93KB).



Lanyard card ISBAR lanyard card thumbnail

The ISBAR lanyard card (PDF 66KB) has been designed as a prompt for staff to remember what type of information should be communicated using ISBAR. Organisations within or external to health are invited to use this tool to assist in the practice of using ISBAR for clinical handover.




Telephone sticker, poster and telephone pad

Click on the images below for a downloadable copy.

A telephone sticker used to communicate safe transfer of patient information in clinical handover.     A poster used to communicate safe transfer of patient information in clinical handover.      A telephone pad used to communicate safe transfer of patient information in clinical handover.

How to order resources

Details on how to purchase all of the ISBAR resources are available on the ordering of clinical handover resources form (PDF 377KB).


Safety and Quality
Telephone: (08) 8226 6539

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