Research portals bolster medical center compliance efforts
All schools are struggling with the transition from paper to electronic research administration systems, Dwyer says. "Some have only gotten as far as fillable PDF forms that can be e-mailed, but they have no real system to support faculty members," he adds.
Cornell, over the last dozen years, had developed or purchased different solutions for different segments of research administration. All of them, however, were somewhat siloed. "Some have a nice workflow, but they weren't integrated and had different user interfaces," he says. "I think our researchers were not happy with so many different interfaces, so that will be a key advantage of Kuali Coeus for us." Another will be the ability to see at any one time where the project is and a complete audit trail, he adds.
Open source development has its pros and cons, according to Dwyer. "There's more flexibility and the result is more attuned to the universities' primary purposes at a nice price point," he says, "but you may not get all the support you would like."
Most large academic systems have made the transition to electronic administration systems. "But I would say the majority of smaller community hospitals that don't have huge research loads are still on paper," Nemours' Garfinkel says. "The expense is not overwhelming, but some may have feared to take that last step."
Other hospitals and small universities may have legacy systems they aren't happy with or that are homegrown. They set something up to address whatever the worst pain point was, but now they see the need for a more comprehensive research portal that offers a seamless experience to the researcher.
The adoption of comprehensive systems is leading to a profound cultural change, according to Andrew Olmstead, director of member services and development at IRBNet. "Now there is one tool suite used by all investigators, and they can view it from Starbucks or wherever they are," he says. "It is changing the way hospitals and universities work."