Data is submitted by providers of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services on a monthly basis. This means that information about referrals is updated each month. Providers have 2 opportunities to submit a month's data, known as primary and refresh windows. Published data will always be based on a refresh submission unless it was not provided, in which case the primary submission is used.
Ethnic group is a required field in the IAPT dataset. This means that wherever providers hold or collect this information about a person, it should be included in their submission to NHS Digital.
For all referrals, a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) is used, alongside either a Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD7) questionnaire or an Anxiety Disorder Specific Measure (ADSM), depending on the recorded diagnosis. ADSMs are questionnaires that are sensitive measures of the severity of particular anxiety disorders. The IAPT Data Handbook recommends relevant ADSMs for:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- generalised anxiety disorder
- social phobia
- health anxiety
- panic disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
If one of these conditions is recorded, the relevant ADSM should be used to measure change in anxiety during treatment. If the relevant ADSM has not been given at least twice during a course of treatment, or if the condition recorded is not one of those specified in the above list, the GAD7 (IAPT’s generic anxiety measure) is used to assess change in anxiety.
The patient’s first and last scores are compared for both the PHQ-9 and the relevant anxiety questionnaire. A referral has shown reliable improvement if there is a reliable decrease on one or both of the scores on these questionnaires, and no reliable increase in either of them.
A reliable change is defined as either a PHQ-9 change of 6 points or more, or one of the following, depending on which questionnaire is asked:
- GAD7 - a change of 4 points or more
- Agoraphobia Mobility Inventory - a change of 0.73 or more
- Social Phobia Inventory - a change of 10 points or more
- Panic Disorder Severity Scale does not have an agreed threshold so GAD7 is used
- Obsessive Compulsive Inventory - a change of 32 points or more
- Impact of Events Scale - a change of 9 points or more
- Health Anxiety Inventory (Short Week) - a change of 4 points or more
Figures have been rounded to 1 decimal point.
Related publicationsQuality and methodology information
Further technical information
For more information, see Appendix 3 of the 2015-16 IAPT annual publication.