At Cayuse, we love a challenge, and one of the most rewarding aspects is offering our customers configured software solutions that meet their unique needs. We do this by getting to know each organization and its structure, culture, and history.

To illustrate how we collaborate with customers, we spoke with Karina Reyes, the Senior IACUC Coordinator at CRADL and Sarah Josway, a Professional Services Consultant here at Cayuse. They shared CRADL’s unique requirements and how they worked together to configure Cayuse Animal Oversight to make it a perfect fit for both CRADL and its customers.

CRADL and its unique needs

CRADL stands for Charles River Accelerator and Development Labs and is a company within Charles River Laboratories. They provide resources for the animal research community as an AAALAC accredited full service vivarium rental space. CRADL works with both emerging and well-established biotech companies, offering IACUC and veterinary support, technical services, equipment rental, and procurement services. 

While most academic research institutions’ PIs are employees, CRADL’s PIs come from a variety of customers. Confidentiality, therefore, is critical and the highest priority for both parties.

“Some of our customers are small biotech companies that have little to no experience with animal research,” said Karina Reyes at CRADL. “They’ve never worked with IACUC before, so I partner with them to fill out the forms and understand the specifics of the program before they even get started.” To help ensure successful submissions, CRADL needed a protocol form that was highly detailed and also instructional. Cayuse Animal Oversight is entirely configurable, with forms designed collaboratively with our customers.

Defining goals 

“An important part of implementation is discussing overall goals and success criteria for the project early in the process,” said Sarah Josway at Cayuse. “To me, it is really important to keep these goals in mind throughout implementation to make sure we are focusing on the most important parts of the system.”

CRADL’s three main goals were client confidentiality, reducing administrative burden, and improving compliance.

With these goals in mind, the teams at CRADL and Cayuse began by reviewing the IACUC protocol form page by page, to identify any gaps. They worked collaboratively to configure the form to meet institutional policies and processes.

Addressing the gaps and ensuring client confidentiality

Keeping in mind that CRADL’s PIs are their customers, the team worked hard to simplify the form and streamline the protocol writing process. Throughout the form, clear instructions and clue tips were added, and all the pages of the out-of-box forms were carefully reviewed –  hiding pages and questions that were not strictly required for CRADL’s IACUC to review. Finally, references were provided to CRADL’s internal documents to give researchers easy access to their policies and procedural documents. Here are some examples of the form configuration.

Options page 

This first gap identified was the funding section of the form. On the left is a screenshot from the out-of-box Cayuse form, with CRADL’s new form on the right. Cayuse worked with the CRADL team to significantly simplify the form and removed most of the funding pages, as well as other pages that weren’t applicable. 

Animal numbers page 

In the out-of-box form, this page was called ‘USDA Pain Categories’, which was determined to not be applicable to CRADL’s customers. On the right, you can see CRADL’s new form, where all references to USDA pain categories were removed and a few other modifications to simplify the form were made. 

Personnel page

One of the most critical gaps the team identified was on the ‘Personnel’ page. “For most of my customers, this functionality works well,” said Sarah. “However, for CRADL, it is critical to keep researcher names confidential. Our engineers redesigned this page, so users can only add researchers to the protocol if they accurately type in the email of the staff member. This update allows CRADL to ensure customer confidentiality, while still maintaining the functionality of the form.” 

“The fact that the system really allows us to control what customers and research staff can view – that’s a big plus,” said Karina. “Specific customers will only ever have access to their own protocols, so this is a very good system in terms of ensuring confidentiality across the board.”

“We’ve been using Cayuse Animal Oversight and the customers have been loving it,” said Karina. “I used to receive questions on our previous forms, on the protocol template itself, and some of it was confusing. Now I don’t receive any questions that require clarification. They all really like the system and it seems very intuitive for them.”

Reducing administrative burden

In addition to the form simplification and ensuring customer confidentiality, Karina is pleased with the time savings that Cayuse Animal Oversight provides. “We were processing everything on a paper-based PDF,  so we would process everything via Word documents and I was following on my own tracker,” says Karina. “Cayuse really eliminated that burden with automatic tracking. Not only do I have full transparency, but the customer now has visibility, along with IACUC steps. Additionally, since our communication with customers is via email,  the solution saves time by sending  automatic emails to customers when a revision is required – things that I had to do before, that the system now does for me.”

Improving compliance

“We really liked the fact that you can pull reports for any individual need. We were unable  to do that efficiently when we were using Word and PDF documents,” says Karina. “It’s now quite easy to  see when a customer adds or changes anything, which is a great benefit for compliance reasons, especially if we  need to identify the source of a compliance issue.”

Meeting customers’ unique needs and ensuring a successful implementation are Cayuse’s top priorities. “In my time here at Cayuse, I’ve found that planning for the unique needs of each customer is critical to the success of implementation,” said Sarah. “It is important to maintain an open mind throughout implementation when trying to find solutions. CRADL taught me that creativity and persistence really pay off. Collaboration is indeed essential. It was an absolute pleasure working with the CRADL team and playing a small part in their research impact on the world.”