Before adopting Ethics Review Manager (Ethics RM), all application forms were paper-based.  Monash University used Research Master (RM) to capture data for human/animal ethics projects, while gene technology applications were managed in Excel. Human ethics projects also used HP Records Manager (TRIM) to file the applications and all related correspondence. Hard copy agendas were posted to reviewers every two weeks and a massive amount of confidential waste was left after each meeting.

Monash faced several issues, including –

  • RM and TRIM were not web-based applications at the time, which made them hard to access when out of the office
  • Access to the data was restricted to a small group of people and excluded researchers
  • Data had to be entered twice – into TRIM and RM – leading to frequent errors
  • New staff required extensive training when joining the office
  • Reporting was not easy and required extensive manipulation once data was exported into Excel spreadsheets
  • Reminders/alerts were difficult to set up, so researchers often did not meet their reporting obligations
  • In the old system, no online forms or workflows were available.

Defining the solution…

It was important to have an online form and electronic committee workflow that supported the entire review process, including capturing committee feedback and application amendments. It was absolutely essential that the new system gave Monash control over the editing of forms and modification of workflows.

“Ethics RM had the added bonus that the interface was so simple that the administrative team supporting the committees are able to make all the necessary changes with no IT skills.”

The implementation…

The development of the form and workflow was reasonably straightforward, once the Monash team understood the product. Because the form and workflow were developed by the admin team, they didn’t need additional training.

Implementation with the research community was smooth, and users quickly realised how much easier it was to submit and review applications in Ethics RM.

The outcome…

The whole process of submission and review is so much easier and quicker since Monash went live with Ethics RM. Reviewers love the track changes feature.

“Being able to see applications and all attachments on both the form and review side is great. It means that applicants no longer need to contact the office to request copies of their applications or their approval certificates. No more photocopying 15 copies of each application and posting them to reviewers!”

Monash considers one of the most important benefits is that by eliminating data entry, they can provide a “value add” service, supporting researchers in meeting their regulatory requirements.

“It’s been amazing working with the Infonetica team. Everyone has been extremely supportive. Issues that we raised were promptly dealt with and resolved with minimal disruptions. The collaborative nature of the relationship and the commitment to further enhance the product to support the research community has been very refreshing.”

Simon Barrett – Research Ethics and Compliance Manager, Monash University