Keith Humphreys, PhD; Jodie Trafton, PhD; Todd H. Wagner, PhD
Grant Support: By the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service.
Humphreys K, Trafton J, Wagner TH. The Cost of Institutional Review Board Procedures in Multicenter Observational Research. Ann Intern Med. 2003;139:77. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-139-1-200307010-00021
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(1):77.
TO THE EDITOR:
Background: In recent years, there has been significant controversy over how institutional review board (IRB) procedures are structured, administered, and balanced against other concerns (for example, the feasibility of multicenter research) (1). Formal economic analysis has been largely absent in these debates. With hospitals and research facilities under budgetary pressures, it is essential that cost-effective IRB systems be developed.
Objective: To estimate the cost of IRB procedures in an eight-site observational substance abuse treatment study.
Methods and Findings: We estimated the cost of each IRB “action” (initial reviews, continuing reviews, amendments, and adverse event reports) at each project site using a method that has been described in detail elsewhere (2). In brief, a national administrative database on IRBs was consulted to determine the estimated total cost of operating IRBs of various sizes. These total costs comprised personnel, space, supplies, and training. Dividing these total costs by the total number of actions conducted per year by an IRB yielded a cost per action. When these data were used as a reference point, each of the eight IRBs in our study was estimated to have a cost per action equal to that of IRBs of a comparable size in the national database.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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