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Lindenwood University cuts IRB review times in half with Cayuse


Many institutions start their research programs with one focus and then expand into other types of research later. This growth often reveals some limitations in their research administration system, which was the case at Lindenwood University. In the past, the St. Charles, Missouri institution has focused on social, behavioral, and education research, but with expansion into biomedical research including exercise science, performance, and nutrition research, the IRB has grown to encompass more robust human research protections.

“Our institution is expanding into greater-than-minimal risk work and emerging fields,” says Michael Leary, Director of Research and Compliance. “As our research profile became more complex, we needed a cloud-based system that we could edit and update as our research programs grow.” Their old system, which was only partially online, was no longer sufficient to manage the up to 400+ specific application items and the 250 open studies that they have.

Leary was facing some foundational research administration challenges: gaining transparency into processes and maximizing efficiency.

As our research profile became more complex, we needed a cloud-based system that we could edit and update as our research programs grow.

Michael Leary
Director of Research and Compliance


Leary had ambitious goals to shorten protocol review times and make processes more intuitive. He also wanted to be able to configure protocol forms as needed. So he began the RFP process and saw demos of five different IRB software solutions. “We had a list of qualities we were looking for, and once we saw Cayuse, my IRB chair and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is exactly what we’re looking for,’” he says. 

“We wanted something elegant and simple that looked like it was built by people who understand IRB workflow,” he says. Strong customer support was also essential. “Cayuse’s price was very reasonable and includes technical assistance that others just don’t offer. Other vendors will give you support, but only so many requests per month before they start charging you more.”

Leary also wanted implementation to be quick and well-executed. “I didn’t want a system that would take a year to implement,” he says. He wanted to be able to switch over to a new IRB system during the summer, and Cayuse made it happen. “We went from contract to fully operational in the span of a summer.”

“We went from contract to fully operational in the span of a summer. It was seamless!”

Michael Leary
Director of Research and Compliance


Leary reports three main benefits since implementing Cayuse: uninterrupted work due to cloud-based access, increased efficiency, and a great user experience. 

Cloud-based access

Thanks to Cayuse’s cloud-based platform, Lindenwood’s IRB team can easily work from home. “Cayuse makes remote work seamless, whether you’re on your computer or your phone,” Leary says. “We’ve held full IRB board meetings using Cayuse, since we can all log in and look at the protocols at the same time. It’s easy to review, take minutes, and capture quorum, just like if we were sitting around a conference table. Even in a virtual environment, it’s very effective.” 


Processes are significantly faster now, thanks to increased transparency and easier reporting. “Before Cayuse, our review times were about 50% longer, and things would get stuck,” Leary says. “We can now turn around exempt studies in three days, even 24 hours sometimes. Our review times are below the national average.”

Intuitive user experience

Leary says that in the past, it’s taken a long time to train IRB committee members on their process, but it’s much quicker with Cayuse. “Instead of spending an exorbitant amount of time teaching community members how to use it, we show them the ropes and they’re experts,” he says. “It takes a lot of anxiety out of the process and empowers them to speak up more during meetings.”

In the future, Leary hopes to bring even more of the Cayuse’s solutions to Lindenwood. “Now we have a great IRB solution, and as resources permit, we’re excited to save even more time by using more of Cayuse’s integrated platform solutions.”

“I actively try to push other institutions toward Cayuse, because I want them to succeed.”

Michael Leary
Director of Research and Compliance

See Cayuse IRB in action