Using InfoReady to Manage Human Subjects Research Reviews

  • June 28, 2023
In a Peer Spotlight webinar, Tiffany Hamblin, Ph.D., Associate Director, Sponsored Programs, Eastern Kentucky University (sponsoredprograms.eku.edu) in Richmond, Kentucky presented how they use InfoReady to manage their IRB process in addition to supporting students and faculty seeking external funding.
 
Choosing InfoReady to Manage IRB Processes
“When we purchased InfoReady in 2016, we knew right away it was going to be a really fantastic tool for us. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) process was something that was cumbersome for our investigators and so, very early on, we really wanted to find a way to use the system for that purpose.
 
Our goals were, first of all, were to simplify the application process for our investigators. A big part of that was how they go about getting applications to us.
 
Before InfoReady we were printing out documents, getting signatures, and sending them through campus mail. Around 2008, we were able to develop a form on our website where investigators could submit the information, but we still had to print, scan, and send documents. We really wanted to eliminate the process of someone having to walk around campus and get people to sign their applications.
 
Being able to take care of the signature process electronically was a huge selling point for us with InfoReady. We also wanted to reduce the effort for reviewers as it was kind of cumbersome to keep up with what reviews you had outstanding and what you had completed.
 
We also wanted to improve the accessibility of records. For example, if a department chair signed off on an application, they might copy it and keep it in their office, or they wouldn't really care about it and have no record of it.
 
InfoReady made it really easy for anyone to go into the Reviews tab in their account to access all the documents related to anything that they've approved in the past.
 
Our process can still be cumbersome at times because of some of the back and forth with the investigators, but overall, the process is just so much smoother.”
 
Tips for Getting Started
 
Tiffany showed how they have set up the questions, routing, and other parts of InfoReady for IRB processes. View the video recording of the webinar to see this valuable information in detail. Tiffany wrapped up the webinar with a few points to consider when setting up a new process for your department or institution.
 
First of all, I really can't emphasize enough how important it is to get people involved [in the new process]. Share your vision for the change process that you're about to embark upon and value the opinions of people who are actually doing the work.
 
I know in some cases it's only you in the office, but if you have an IRB administrator or other staff who support that person, get them involved too. The IRB committee should also be involved in figuring out what the process should look like since nobody likes to be told, ‘here's a new system, use it’.
 
Instead of just throwing what you already have (forms, process, etc.) into InfoReady, I also encourage you to review everything about your whole IRB process. Look at all of your forms. Think about what revisions you might want to make to those.
 
Think about requirements. Is there anything new you need to add or anything that maybe really isn't necessary that you can take out?
 
Look at the instructions for all of your forms and processes to make sure they're clear. Take the time to really make them as functional as you can.
 
Think about your processes. Are you doing things that maybe aren't necessary or that someone else could do versus the person doing it currently? Really take the time to think about it as a whole process, and what might make it better beyond just putting it into an electronic format.
 
I think InfoReady is probably the most intuitive system there is for doing things like this. It's so easy to just click and walk through the process and know what to do, but there are always people who aren't comfortable with new technology. Or just are resistant to change overall.
So, communicate often about the change through whatever avenues you have.
 
I also suggest hosting some virtual or in-person demonstration sessions. You need a place where people can come to learn what the new process looks like, show them how to get into the system, how to submit an application and talk about what happens once they do that. It’s a whole process to help people feel more comfortable with the change.
 
Lastly, use InfoReady’s flexibility to make changes as needed. InfoReady is awesome in that you aren't married to an application once you launch it. You can go in and edit all of your applications while they're live. So if you roll out a form or process and 30 days later you really wish you had added this field, then all you have to do is open up InfoReady and edit the competition. It’s going to immediately take effect within that live competition, without messing up what you already have in this system. Be flexible and know that you have that option to make adjustments as you go. Don't feel like just because you rolled it out in one way, that it can never change.”
 
 

 

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