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Ethics committee reviews and mutual acceptance: a pilot study

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Abstract Aims: 

To develop a human research ethics committee (HREC) mutual acceptance (MA) model, based on the National Health and Medical Research Council's guidelines. The MA model aims to facilitate aspects of multicentre research and decrease the time taken to finalise the HREC review process. Methods: 

Four HREC (The Alfred Hospital, Austin Health, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Melbourne Health) agreed to participate in a 13-month pilot project to evaluate the MA model. Evaluation included times from submission to approval and stakeholder surveys. Results: 

Seventeen consecutive studies were submitted to the MA pilot project. Stakeholders agreed that the MA model was efficient and effective and that submission and review processes had improved, with a demonstrable reduction in the levels of duplication. There was a 27% improvement in approval times for multicentre studies. Conclusions: 

Our (MA) model resulted in clear improvements in HREC processes and timelines. Stakeholder acceptance was high. This model provides a framework for a broader program of MA. (Intern Med J 2005; 35: 650–654)
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Keywords: ethics; mutual acceptance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cancer Trials Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: November 1, 2005

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