Ethics RM Case Study: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education in public and global health. It handles around 800 ethics applications every year – one third from staff and PhDs and two-thirds from MSc students. They also have staff and students based in over 180 countries with variable IT infrastructure, including some areas where it is quite poor. Without an easy to access software solution, these researchers may find themselves cut off from the approval process.
LSHTM’s old system for handling ethics approvals had several problems. Data was stored in multiple locations and the process was based in Word documents distributed by email. This made it difficult to have an overview and ensure consistency. It also made it difficult to ensure that the process was secure.
Defining The Solution
LSHTM were looking for several improvements in a new system –
- Easy generation of standard documents
- Straightforward monitoring with all documents stored in a single location
- Full customization to meet LSHTM needs
- Ease of access and use for all users, especially for those who live, work and study in other countries.
Patricia Henley, LSHTM’s Quality and Governance Manager said “With EthicsRM we’ve been able to streamline processes, improve workflows and send out notifications and letters automatically, based on application status. Thus the administration load has reduced greatly.”
Working closely with LSHTM, Infonetica developed a solution that was browser-based and highly customizable. This solution became EthicsRM. It can automatically generate standard letters and notifications as well as being easy to manage in-house. Another particularly attractive feature for LSHTM was the ability to automatically send applications to particular committees depending on the answers to key questions in the application form.
The LSHTM workflow was defined and reproduced within EthicsRM. For example, one aspect of the workflow was that fast track amendments should go directly to the Chair instead of the Committee. EthicsRM was developed in order to accommodate this requirement.
LSHTM worked closely with Infonetica at every stage of the implementation. They found Infonetica particularly responsive to their needs.
“After using the software, we have come back to Infonetica on various issues, and they have been able to get back to us with a fix,” Patricia Henley added.
The installation is stable and popular with both the administrative staff and committee members alike. LSHTM is keen to start using some of the more “bells and whistles” features of EthicsRM – such as its sophisticated report generation tools.