Guest post by Jessica Thompson
About a year ago, I started a new job as the first full-time IRB staff person at Baptist Health. If you’re not familiar with it, Baptist Health is a 65-year-old healthcare system based in Florida that includes five hospitals, as well as a branch of the world-renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center.
I was excited to be in my new role, but I quickly came up against some challenges that are all too common in our industry. Over time, as regulations and processes changed, what was once probably a very efficient IRB system became increasingly manual and reliant on shared drives, email, and technology like Microsoft Access. In addition, due to a few retirements, we lost some institutional knowledge that we relied on to navigate IRB processes.
As part of a very small team, I needed to figure out how to be as efficient and effective as possible. Baptist Health needs me to focus on the most important tasks: updating our IRB policies and forms, working towards accreditation, working more effectively with research teams, and increasing the number of submissions. These things will have the biggest impact on Baptist Health’s continued growth.
In order to spend more time in these key areas, I quickly realized I needed to drive huge productivity gains, not just small changes. Was there a way to turn the hours it was taking for routing, tracking, and administering our IRB processes into minutes?
I decided to reach out to my network of IRB colleagues at other institutions for recommendations, and a peer at the University of California, San Diego suggested Cayuse IRB. I got a demo and was impressed at how easy it was to use, which was my #1 priority. I needed to be able to teach my reviewers how to review protocols in the system, and Cayuse makes that simple.
With over 400 active protocols each year and a half dozen or more submissions each month, freeing the team from constant emails would be a game changer. Built-in notifications, visibility into the protocol process, and changes for the entire research team were going to be huge wins.
What about IT?
It’s really amazing how far technology has come. Just a few years ago, many small organizations might have been reluctant to invest in research administration technology, fearing that would require vast IT resources to both implement and maintain it. However, I quickly learned that’s not the case with a cloud-based platform. Our IT department was happy to see that Cayuse would be one less system that they would have to worry about because it was web-based, and they were extremely supportive of moving forward with Cayuse.
Looking forward to the future
Cayuse is going to help take our IRB processes at Baptist Health to the next level, and I know that the time savings will be significant. Something that used to take me an hour will probably only take 10 minutes with Cayuse. I’m looking forward to it increasing my productivity so I can focus on the vital tasks that will support Baptist Health’s continued growth.