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Spellecy, R., Eve, A. M., Connors, E. R., Shaker, R., & Clark, D. C. (2018). The Real-Time IRB: A Collaborative Innovation to Decrease IRB Review Time. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 13(4), 432–437. https://doi.org/10.1177/1556264618780803


Lengthy review times for institutional review boards (IRBs) are a well-known barrier to research. In response to numerous calls to reduce review times, we devised “Real-Time IRB,” a process that drastically reduces IRB review time. In this, investigators and study staff attend the IRB meeting and make changes to the protocol while the IRB continues its meeting, so that final approval can be issued at the meeting. This achieved an overall reduction in time from submission to the IRB to final approval of 40%. While this process is time and resource intensive, and cannot address all delays in research, it shows great promise for increasing the pace by which research is translated to patient care.