Saving time and keeping animal research in compliance at University of Colorado

Now billing takes an hour instead of three days

Challenge

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU-AMC) encompasses six schools, two hospitals, nearly 25,000 employees, about 5,000 faculty members, and nearly 4,500 students. For the past 20 years, CU-AMC’s animal facility program used commercial research management software to manage its processes, but as the program grew, the software wasn’t keeping up. 

Responsiveness, functionality, and reliability were all lacking. The program was also unable to stay ahead of compliance issues. “We could go in after the fact and make sure [researchers] hadn’t exceeded their animal numbers or ordered the wrong strain or species on their protocol, but we couldn’t be proactive,” said Training Program Manager Lorraine Bell. It was time to find a new solution. 

After forming a search committee, they evaluated eight vendors, narrowed the selection to four, and requested presentations from the finalists. The remaining two vendors created sandbox environments, and CU-AMC decided on Cayuse—specifically, Hazard Safety, Animal Oversight, Vivarium Operations, Vet Care, and Training Records.

 

“Previously, animal ordering compliance was on the honor system. We couldn’t be proactive.”

Lorraine Bell
Training Program Manager

Solution

CU-AMC chose Cayuse for 5 main reasons:

  • Ease of use
  • Functionality
  • Complete transparency of billing and animal census 
  • Performance 
  • Direct integration across all modules, especially between Animal Oversight and Hazard Safety 

Once the decision was made, the team at CU-AMC held discussions to determine their software configuration needs. They also assembled a team of about 30 people to migrate their 600 IACUC protocols to the new system. CU-AMC completed the protocol migration and then officially went live with the Cayuse platform. 

“We especially appreciated the solution implementation—it was fast and well-supported. They had it up and running quickly, which exceeded our expectations,” said Mark Douse, Ph.D., Director of the Office for Research Committee Support. “The rollout was much smoother than we’ve had on other systems,” added Bell.

“Our researchers and staff are very satisfied with the user-friendly, high-performing software. They were especially pleased with the transparency throughout the entire lifetime of a protocol.”

Mark Douse, Ph.D.
Director, Office for Research Committee Support

Results

The team at CU-AMC now manages their animal facility program with software that’s reliable, scalable, and intuitive. “We have been pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy the program is to use,” said Douse. “Some researchers were submitting protocols without any training.” 

Researchers now have immediate access to all workflow information and can get the status of their protocols at any time. Their daily census activities occur instantly, providing accurate and up-to-date records for real-time census and precise care-day charges for billing. Carolyn Russell, Associate Director of Finance & Administration, loves how much faster invoicing is: “It used to take us three days to process billing. Now it only takes an hour or two. It’s saved my staff a lot of time.” 

The software has powerful built-in tools and templates, including on-demand searches and track changes. These tools make reviewing, finding, and reporting on information effortless for university researchers and staff. “Our PIs are extremely happy,” Bell said. “The new products are a lot easier for our research staff to use.” 

Finally, CU-AMC has peace of mind that they’re in compliance. “Cayuse incorporates animal ordering right into the product, so it’s a lot easier for us to verify against the protocol, since the systems are integrated,” Bell said. “Cayuse has completely enabled us to be ahead of regulatory compliance. We’re proactive instead of reactive.”

“It used to take us three days to process billing. Now it only takes an hour or two.”

Carolyn Russell
Associate Director of Finance & Administration

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