How Custom Reports Drive IRB Process Improvements

Client is one of the top five pediatric research hospitals in the United States, receiving over $48 million in federal funding annually. In 2018, research administration leadership at Client was looking for a modern business intelligence (BI) solution to provide insight into their operational metrics. They contracted Bad Rabbit to install Research Visions, an analytics solution that allows users to access data already contained within their e-research administration system.

In this case study, we look how Client and Bad Rabbit leveraged the existing reports and dashboards in Research Visions and worked together to develop custom views to provide actionable insight, drive process improvements and reduce costs.


The Situation

At Client Institution, studies involving human subjects are overseen by the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects, which is responsible for the regulatory compliance and administration of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process.

In 2018, the Director of Regulatory Research Affairs noticed a slowdown in IRB review times and planned to approach ancillary and IRB reviewers to discuss ways to reduce turnaround time. But first, they needed data to support their plan.

Client needed easy access to accurate data about review time and state changes in IRB studies. This data would illustrate where and how slowdowns occurred and provide evidence for improving processes, contributing to an overall reduction in turnaround times.


The Approach

Client had already contracted Bad Rabbit to install Research Visions, a BI solution that lets users access and analyze data contained within their e-research administration system. The Research Visions implementation project included 40 hours for institutional report customizations. Through close collaboration, Client team members and Bad Rabbit identified enhancements that would address pain points within the IRB office.


The IRB department is particularly concerned with turnaround times, and sought to answer some core questions:

  • What is the backlog of submitted protocols?

  • How many protocols are currently in the pipeline?

  • What is the turnaround time across different types of reviews, and across the institution?

  • Once a protocol reaches the IRB, what is the percentage of time breakdown between time spent with the IRB vs. time spent with the PI? And time spend with ancillary groups vs time spent with the PI?

To demonstrate these critical data points, Bad Rabbit developed two custom reports that offer a graphical breakdown of processing time and efficiency:

I. Institutional turnaround time report

Typically, turnaround time is calculated by the study approval date minus the date that it was initially submitted to the IRB. But this calculation did not factor in time taken for ancillary reviews conducted as-needed by specialty departments in parallel with IRB reviews. So, Bad Rabbit developed a turnaround time report that includes IRB turnaround time plus any time spent in ancillary review. Institutional turnaround time data demonstrates not only how effective and efficient the IRB office is in viewing and processing submissions, but how long it takes a study to get through the entire review process

II. Number of State Changes report

This custom report captures how many times an IRB submission goes back and forth (changing states) between the IRB and submitting PI, indicating the quality of the submission

 Turnaround times are also differentiated by types of reviews, so Research Visions includes a breakdown across segments: exempt, expediated, and facilitated review. Graphs show how much time is spent by the IRB, how much by the PI, and even how much time is spent by the ancillary review group.

With a comprehensive reporting dashboard, research administrators at Client gain greater insight into what impacts turnaround times and can make informed decisions to improve processes.


The Outcome

Client has been using Research Visions since December 2018, and already see a great deal of value in their customized reporting platform. They’re excited to use the dashboard and anticipate improved turnaround times.

The Research Vision platform was built in the spirit of community collaboration and sharing. With the participation of clients like this, Bad Rabbit can embed new reporting views into the base platform and make them available to other participating institutions. Research Visions will continually improve, growing based on the expertise and contributions provided by clients.


BR Research Vision™ from Bad Rabbit delivers modern business intelligence (BI) to research administration, providing insight into the operational metrics that matter to you. We’d love to show you how it works—contact us to schedule a demo.