Wednesday, January 23, 2019

When an Upgrade Really Is an Upgrade

Guest Blogger:
Amy Loveland
Associate Director, MedStar Community Clinical  Research Center

As probably most everyone knows by now, there has recently been an upgrade to the Georgetown-MedStar IRB system.  Gone are InfoEd and eRIC, and the replacement is a system called Huron, which has been touted as a much more user-friendly and streamlined system.  And probably much like everyone else, I am usually somewhat skeptical of claims about how much better a new system will be than the old one.  Having been a user (and no fan) of both InfoEd and eRIC, and having played around in the system during user training, I was cautiously optimistic that this one might actually live up to the hype.  I had no idea.
On the first day of go-live, I had the opportunity to test it out with an annual continuation that was due for a large, long-term federal study.  This study has literally hundreds of documents that have to be submitted for re-approval every year.  As anyone who has used the old systems can attest, submitting numerous documents was a time-intensive and tedious process.  Submitting the annual continuation for this study in the old system could take several hours, assuming the site didn’t crash while I was doing it, and not counting the time it took to gather demographic information and signatures before I even started the submission.

In contrast, the total time for submission in Huron: 20 minutes.  I kept checking to see if I had missed something, but it truly was that easy.  In addition, the system visually shows you where your submission is in the process, so you can track the progress as it moves from submission to approval.  Everything truly is user-friendly, efficient, and the smart-forms make it easy to submit the correct information.

I’m not normally one to rave about new systems, but this is one I think people are going to really like.  The amount of time saved on each submission will have an immediate impact on the day-to-day workflow of anyone doing regulatory work.  And anything that saves time and makes life easier is definitely something to be excited about.           

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