Recently we discussed some potential benefits of electronic consenting, a recent announcement illustrates how innovative researchers are going online to contact and inform research participants.
The Health Improvement Institute gave an Award for Excellence to oncology researchers at Cedars-Sinai for online consenting and recruitment application. By reaching people online, the Women’s Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai increased study enrollment dramatically. Cedar-Sinai announced that online recruiting and consenting “quadrupled” the number of participants in the registries.
In the March issue of IRB Advisor (Volume 14, No. 3; subscription required), researcher BJ Rimel MD describes how Cedars-Sinai introduced the program. Cedars-Sinai was not finding enough participants for a set of registry studies, and so Dr. Rimel explored going online. After launch, the registry studies (called Research for Her) added 280 participants in less than a year, including for a branch of the study that had recruited no participants until then.
The article describes how the IRB at Cedars-Sinai helped and supported the electronic consenting. The manager of IRB operations noted that they were looking at policies for electronic consent, and Dr. Rimel’s idea pushed them to finalize their procedures. The recruitment and consenting process has levels of privacy, functionality that will remove irrelevant questions or sections depending on a participant’s answers, and overall sought to make the consenting process easier without sacrificing the required protections. Cedars-Sinai developed an online process that helped researchers, supported the IRB, and reached participants. Its Award of Excellence seems well-deserved.