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7 Most Wanted Features for IRB and IACUC Research Administrators

September 12, 2019

Are you frustrated with your current system for managing research protocols? Perhaps you’ve been searching for a way to make it easier and quicker to handle those protocols, develop forms, assign protocols for review, prepare meetings, collect comments from reviewers, and communicate with researchers. A streamlined protocol management solution could make life much easier for you and the reviewers and researchers at your institution. Here are 7 features Kuali Research provides through its new protocols module that can help you and your institution do less paperwork and get back to what you love – research!

1. Access Everything through One Portal

The Kuali Protocols system is a package full of robust features that allows you to manage all your research protocols, whether human or animal, within one convenient, easy-to-use portal. Instead of switching modules to work on human protocols and moving to another for the animal research protocols, you and your fellow administrators and investigators can use a single portal with all the functionality you need.

2. Manage Protocol Preparation

The system allows you and other administrators at your institution to create protocol templates and forms in a way that saves time and effort for investigators as well as reviewers. The system is designed to be intuitive, guiding the researcher to the appropriate forms to use for a particular research project. With this streamlined approach, the protocols are more likely to be ready for review on the first submission, you will get fewer questions from investigators about what to include in their protocols, and reviewers can perform more streamlined and faster reviews.

You can also customize access controls at the institution and department levels to set who can create protocols and who can view protocols based on their role. Additionally, permissions can be given on a per-protocol basis to allow investigators, study coordinators, research technicians and administrative staff to collaborate on protocol preparation and tracking.

3. Create Forms and Templates

The Kuali Protocol templates are quite easy to use. You’ll be able to drag and drop items into a template, making it extremely simple to customize a template to your specific needs. For example, you can choose gadgets such as date pickers, drop-down menus, radio buttons, checklists, personnel contact roles, and checkboxes, to name just a few of the available options.

When setting up your forms, you can make certain elements of the form dependent on others. You can even use this capability to allow specific attachments within the form.

As part of the process for partnering with new customers, Kuali works with you to set up your initial templates. Once you have the templates in place and you have become familiar with the product, it’s easy for you and your colleagues to maintain the templates and customize them according to changing needs.

4. Filter and View Your Protocols in Your Own Administrator’s Dashboard

Whether you manage Human or Animal ethics reviews or both, you can tailor your dashboard accordingly. The Admin Dashboard gives you the full picture of where protocols are in their review process. You can hide or show the widgets that matter to you. With the Protocols Dashboard widgets, you can quickly find new protocols, amendments and continuations that need your attention as well as track protocols that are with reviewers or have been sent back to the researchers for revisions.

From the “Manage Protocols” screen, you can easily view all the projects in your purview. You can filter for various factors, including protocol type (animal or human), submission type, status, review assignments, expiration dates and more. You can create and save your own filters. You can hide columns or show new ones, configuring the view depending on what you’re interested in and the work that you’re planning to do that day.

5. View or Make Field-level Comments

Kuali Protocols also provides an efficient commenting system. Reviewers and compliance administrators can check out the protocols and make comments about specific sections and form fields. This simplifies the review process and enables the researcher to quickly and easily see where changes need to be made.

When a researcher receives comments within the system, he or she is unable to see who made the comment. The commenter’s identity is obscured to ensure that the focus remains on the project and the effectiveness of the protocol. However, the administrator and other reviewers can view the commenter’s identity to facilitate communication in the review process.

6. Track Specific Changes between Protocol Versions

In Kuali Protocols, every version of a protocol is stored. Viewing specific changes across versions is as simple as clicking a button.

When a protocol is re-submitted in response to review comments, admins and reviewers can assess the exact revisions made to protocol in response to their comments, leading to fast and efficient reviews. The researcher doesn’t have to explain what they changed and where, so it is less of a burden for them as well.

When the researchers submit protocol modifications for review, the ability to view the proposed changes significantly speeds up amendment processing, review, and approval.

7. Manage Committees and Meetings

You can create committees, arrange meetings, generate agendas and minutes, and much more.

Kuali Protocols allows you create as many committees as needed in your institution. You can update the members and schedules of your committees at any time.

Preparing and sharing the meeting agenda is a simple process. Protocols are automatically added to agendas when assigned meetings. You can add other agenda topics and attachments, publish your agenda to share with committee members, and during and after the meeting you can take notes to produce the minutes and share them with committee members. Agenda and Minutes are also printable.

If a meeting is cancelled, you can pull specific agenda items over to the next meeting. It’s a handy feature that enables you to quickly see what you weren’t able to cover and which items you’ll need to review at a future date.

When you are in a meeting, different committee members and other reviewers can look at a meeting agenda together. Although this particular program wasn’t designed as meeting software, the practical construction of the system allows you to use it in meetings if you like.

The Perfect Package

Kuali Protocols is a stand-alone product, although it does allow you to pull person information from your Human Resources system and your organizational structure into Kuali. Currently, it does not require you to use other Kuali Research software in conjunction with its functions. Some connections and integration points with the other Kuali Research modules are being planned for the near future, but the goal with this system is to offer a compact, cohesive solution for a specific need—efficient protocol management.

If you can see useful applications for protocols management software at your university, take some time to investigate the Kuali system. With an intuitive, well-designed system in place, your protocols could be managed much more quickly and conveniently. You could be spending less time on administrative tasks and more time on your passions, whether it be thorough ethical reviews or active research.

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