The effort to modernize old processes tends to be met with a lot of reticence in most organizations, regardless of size. Traditionally, organizations have remained steadfast in their decades-old systems. It might prove difficult to convince others to give up their paper-based processes in favor of a new online research compliance system.
Researchers, IRB, and IACUC committees and their staff are mired in paper-based clerical functions, and an online compliance system can be an incredibly powerful tool in helping organizations and their staff perform their functions far more efficiently.
Although leading the efforts to implement these systems might be difficult initially, here are some tips to help dispel some of the myths that might be hampering its implementation.
1) "It's too expensive"
For most organizations, cost tends to be the biggest factor for not adopting an online research compliance system. While yes, the upfront cost may seem expensive, there are ways to break it down that demonstrate its long-term value and savings.
When discussing cost with leadership, think about how this system could automate processes, which would help save researcher time, reduce delays in post-award administration, and reduce staff workload. Building internal support will entail showing how the cost is worth it in the end because of the benefits an online compliance system provides.
2) "There's no return on investment"
Online IRB, IACUC, and IBC systems not only help to automate and optimize current paper-based processes, they’re also able to evolve with the needs of an organization, making it a smart investment.
Building support around adopting a new online system will involve demonstrating how the system is continually upgrading to further improve efficiency revolving around the research compliance process. Do this by showing how the system can be configured to your organization’s workflow and policies.
3) "It takes too much time to learn"
This is a persistent myth. Do some careful research on the systems you’re interested in, especially in terms of ease-of-use for researchers and reviewers. These groups should be able to access the system efficiently and effectively beginning with their first encounter.
If a system isn’t designed to be intuitive enough for users across the technological spectrum – from the savvy to the less so – then find another system.
There’s no denying that there may be an initial learning curve for administrative users as the system is configured to the organization’s needs. But this group usually doesn’t have trouble focusing on the positive aspects that will outweigh this challenge when building internal support.
Try not to get mired in timelines, but hone in on the benefits it will provide for IRBs and why these systems are so instrumental in this new digital age.
4) "But this is the way it's always been done"
People often have difficulty in letting go of traditional methods, especially those that are tied to their paper processes.
Yet, while it might seem tempting – and easy – to stick with tried and tested methods, you must emphasize that organizations that do not adapt to evolving technology are often at risk of being left behind.
In fact, organizations that are quick to adopt and implement technology to improve existing processes are at a great advantage. Additionally, the increased levels of productivity are a boon to researchers and administrators working on clerical processes.
Ultimately, the argument must lie in demonstrating how, comparatively, online compliance systems can provide the same underlying services...without being tied down to the slow workflow and time-consuming tasks of the traditional methods.
Try a New, Better Way
Securing a new online research compliance system will offer researchers opportunities to reduce administrative burden, improve compliance workflow, and speed up productivity and efficiency. These systems are simply one of the best ways to make current workflow processes more efficient while saving on cost and time.